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abigsmurf
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Whenever reading about US history I always come across the famous kite experiment that says Edison discovered electricity.

However I've always thought this was a wide spread piece of misinformation as the existance of electricity was known by scientists already and Edison's experiment was to meerly proove lightning was electrivity as was thought but not proven at the time.

Regardless of whether the experiment was successful (hadn't scientists been injured/killed doing it before?) or even possible (Mythbusters debunked it saying it would kill you). Can anyone confirm that the experiment was to prove the nature of lightning rather then discovering electricity.

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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Uh...wasn't that Franklin?

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pinqy
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The kite experiment was done by Benjamin Franklin. Edison was the one who didn't really invent the lightbulb.

pinqy

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Troodon
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I think you mean Benjamin Frankiln, not Edison. Also, the only way I've heard it described was as an experiment to test whether lightning was electricity, never as an experiment to discover electricity.

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Aptenodytes_Forsteriis
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Edison's responsibility for electricity was to demonize DC in favor of AC, thus making $$$$$$ and ruining Tesla who was also screwed by marconi who patented radio after Tesla invented it.

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Troodon
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Tesla was the AC guy, not Edison. You've got them reversed.

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GenYus
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Aptenodytes_Forsteriis, I believe you have it backwards. Edison demonized AC in favour of his DC. IMS, Edison even invented the electric chair to show the killing power of AC.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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abigsmurf
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gah I always get franklin and edison mixed up. We never actually did any US history that was pre-WW1 at school ¬¬
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Aptenodytes_Forsteriis
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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
Aptenodytes_Forsteriis, I believe you have it backwards. Edison demonized AC in favour of his DC. IMS, Edison even invented the electric chair to show the killing power of AC.

You are right I am wrong. Strap me in the chair.

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GenYus
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quote:
Originally posted by abigsmurf:
gah I always get franklin and edison mixed up. We never actually did any US history that was pre-WW1 at school ¬¬

Just remember that Franklin was a Founding Father who went to France and Edison was a ego-driven inspired inventor.

Gen "E and I in those words should sound somewhat similar so I used them as alliteratives" Yus

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Andrew of Ware, England
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
The kite experiment was done by Benjamin Franklin. Edison was the one who didn't really invent the lightbulb.

pinqy

Quite right, pingy. Joseph Swan of Newcastle invented the light bulb. His first incandescent light bulb using a tungsten filament was invented about 19 years before Edison (IIRC), but he did not make a really practical one until later - but still before Edison.

A country house in Northumberland, Cragside, was the first house in the world to be lit by an electric light bulb. Power was supplied by a hydro-electric system in the grounds of the house. I believe it was the world's first practical use of HEP. The house is now owned by the National Trust and is well worth a visit.

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Andrew, Ware, England

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Gale
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quote:
Originally posted by abigsmurf:
gah I always get franklin and edison mixed up. We never actually did any US history that was pre-WW1 at school ¬¬

yabbut when Franklin experimented with electricity, he was English, not American.
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GenYus
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quote:
Originally posted by Gayle:
quote:
Originally posted by abigsmurf:
gah I always get franklin and edison mixed up. We never actually did any US history that was pre-WW1 at school ¬¬

yabbut when Franklin experimented with electricity, he was English, not American.
But he was a colonist, so he wasn't really English.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Silas Sparkhammer
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Franklin was also the one who guessed which way current flows, and got it wrong, which is why the electron has a negative charge, making all our circuit diagrams counterintuitive.

Silas

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shifty rob
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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
Franklin was also the one who guessed which way current flows, and got it wrong, which is why the electron has a negative charge, making all our circuit diagrams counterintuitive.

Silas

"Open" and "Closed" circuits are also reversed from what they are in fluid power (pneumatics and hydraulics) circuit diagrams. In fluid power, an "open" valve is "passing", while in electronics, an "open" switch is "non-passing".

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Richl
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I think many people believe Edison invented the light bulb because he created a better filament for it. And also lit Pearl St. in NYC, using the first power station, (Edison Electric Light Co.).
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Gale
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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
quote:
Originally posted by Gayle:
quote:
Originally posted by abigsmurf:
gah I always get franklin and edison mixed up. We never actually did any US history that was pre-WW1 at school ¬¬

yabbut when Franklin experimented with electricity, he was English, not American.
But he was a colonist, so he wasn't really English.
He was an Englishman (edit) living in an English colony 30 years before it became an independent country. What else you gonna call him?
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GI Joe
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quote:
Originally posted by Gayle:
What else you gonna call him? [/QB]

Well, I belive King George called him a traitor, and most of the good New Englander stock called him a dirty old man. [Wink]

You're right, of course, that he was of English descent, living in a British colony at the time. It might be worth noting, however, that his view of himself and his fellow colonials as a separate cultural identity began about this time. His "A Defense of the Americans" (1759) exhibits this clearly, even though it was written a good while before the revolutionary zeal kicked in.

I don't think anyone mentioned it yet, but I believe Franklin was only the first one to propose the nature of lightning, which he did in a 1750 pubication. That publication also included Franklin's idea on how to conduct an experiment to prove it (the kite idea). I believe the first man to actually get electrical sparks from clouds was a Frenchman working off Franklin's notes for the proposed experiment. Believe his name was Dalbard. Anyway, as I recall, he conducted Franklin's experiment in 1752, and, as it turned out, just a month or so before Franklin himself conducted it. Given the time lag in communications, I guess it was understandable that the guy who came up with the theory and the idea for the experiment would get the credit for pulling it off first.

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Ganzfeld
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[lol] This is the most mixed up thread I've ever seen at Esnopes! We go from confusing Franklin and Edison to confusing AC and DC (that was a problem on the Flintstones too) to confusing English and Colonist and American. (At any rate, abigsmurf said "US history" which, I would say, regardless of Franklin's status at the time, certainly includes events in the colonies.)
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Andrew of Ware, England
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Ah, but we have exploded the urban myth of Edison inventing the light bulb. OK, the thread was about Franklin...

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Andrew, Ware, England

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abigsmurf
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amazing how a mistake diverts a thread ;^^

Still could be worse, could've made a thread about George Dubya being quoted as saying "I cannot tell a lie"...

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Troberg
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quote:
Edison's responsibility for electricity was to demonize DC in favor of AC, thus making $$$$$$ and ruining Tesla who was also screwed by marconi who patented radio after Tesla invented it.
And don't forget that Al Gore screwed Nicola Tesla when he claimed to have invented the internet.

Tesla, after realizing that providing global power through a giant Tesla coil using the earth as a resonator, was not practical, instead came up with the idea of an electric global communications system using a similar method, but with a modulated signal.

He didn't do much about it, as his interests led him in other directions, but this is (to my knowledge) the first documented vision of that kind.

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/Troberg

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Gale
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And I didn't even throw Westinghouse into the mix.
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Aptenodytes_Forsteriis
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quote:
Originally posted by Ganzfeld:
[lol] This is the most mixed up thread I've ever seen at Esnopes! We go from confusing Franklin and Edison to confusing AC and DC (that was a problem on the Flintstones too) to confusing English and Colonist and American. (At any rate, abigsmurf said "US history" which, I would say, regardless of Franklin's status at the time, certainly includes events in the colonies.)

You think this is confused? How about we add the next level of confusion?

Was Franklin really a British Spy during the revolution?

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Nick Theodorakis
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And, in the "truth is stranger than fiction" department, actress Hedy Lamarr was the co-inventor of frequency-hopping spread spectrum transmission.

Nick

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GI Joe
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OK, a correction to my feeble memory from our friends at Wikipedia.

The Fremchman's name was Thomas-François Dalibard. Although he worked from Franklin's directions for the experiment, he used a tall iron rod instead of the kite Franklin proposed. He successfully got sparks from a storm cloud using this methodology on 10 May 1752. Franklin, using his own kite methodology, succeeded in the same thing on 15 June 1752.

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RealityChuck/Boston Charlie
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quote:
Originally posted by Aptenodytes_Forsteriis:
Edison's responsibility for electricity was to demonize DC in favor of AC, thus making $$$$$$ and ruining Tesla who was also screwed by marconi who patented radio after Tesla invented it.

Nice theory, but, ignoring the fact that Edison wanted DC, Tesla wasn't the one Edison tried to put out of business. It was George Westinghouse that Edison went after (Tesla worked for Westinghouse but when Edison wanted to discredit his opponent, he pushed for electrocution to be called "Westinghousing").
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Aptenodytes_Forsteriis
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quote:
Originally posted by RealityChuck, the punisher:
quote:
Originally posted by Aptenodytes_Forsteriis:
Edison's responsibility for electricity was to demonize DC in favor of AC, thus making $$$$$$ and ruining Tesla who was also screwed by marconi who patented radio after Tesla invented it.

Nice theory, but, ignoring the fact that Edison wanted DC, Tesla wasn't the one Edison tried to put out of business. It was George Westinghouse that Edison went after (Tesla worked for Westinghouse but when Edison wanted to discredit his opponent, he pushed for electrocution to be called "Westinghousing").
Ignoring (or actually pointing it out in passing) the somewhat nasty tone implied in the nice theory comment, I will address the substance.

I said DC when I meant AC, mea culpa (as already admitted above)

Westinghouse was financing Tesla, not employing him. They would have been partners except that Edison won the battle (but obviously ended up switching sides as his company then proceeded to transmit AC) and ruined Tesla. Westinghouse was not ruined by bowing out of that arena, he remained wealthy; Tesla died a pauper, which was a result of his poor business sense and Edison and Marconi's rampant opportunism.

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Ganzfeld
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I was surprised that Edison made it pretty high into the Japanese list of 100 great people in history a few weeks ago on TV. He is really admired here. I think his reputation in the US and Europe varies greatly but I wonder if he'd even make it on a list of 100 great people.
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diddy
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Franklin never actually "discovered" electricity. His famous kite experement only was to show teh conductivity of lightning. Electicity was allready around in other forms long before. Other perople properly explaned it and provided systems to generate it for practical puppses.

As for edison, he was a big supporter of DC and totally against AC which was run by James Westinghouse. Westinghouses AC was far more effectve and was the obvious choice. Edison was a staunch opponent of the Death penalty and when the idea of electocuton as a method of killing criminals was brought up, edison was consulted. He recommended AC believing it would smear westinghouse (along with his claimes that AC was highly damgerous) when people say the first electocution.

Sadly, AC was there to stay and even though the first executioon was grislty, it was later refined and kept. Edisons smear campaing failed.

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Ganzfeld
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There is an entry in the ULRP about Edison and the 'lectric chair.
http://www.snopes.com/science/edison.htm

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Delta-V
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quote:
Originally posted by Aptenodytes_Forsteriis:
Edison's responsibility for electricity was to demonize DC in favor of AC, thus making $$$$$$ and ruining Tesla who was also screwed by marconi who patented radio after Tesla invented it.

Bah! Everyone in Kentucky knows neither Tesla nor Marconi invented Radio. It was Nathan Stubblefield, who demonstrated a wireless telephone in 1892, a year before Tesla's experiments, and 3 years before Marconi.

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Bah! Everyone in Kentucky knows neither Tesla nor Marconi invented Radio. It was Nathan Stubblefield, who demonstrated a wireless telephone in 1892, a year before Tesla's experiments, and 3 years before Marconi.
Nope, it was Leif Ericsson, the viking that discovered America, who invented the first mobile phone as a way to communicate with the people at home. That's why some phones are still called Ericsson. [Smile]

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/Troberg

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abigsmurf
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Nah the ancient egyptians had the first mobiles, the pyramids were just glorified radio masts.
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Troberg
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At least the Egyptians had plenty of silicon to make chips out of. Too bad they went with papyrus instead of going directly to computers.

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/Troberg

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