After seeing houses and barns burn to the ground after a lightning strike, Franklin decided to do something about it. He invented the lightning rod that is still used all over the world to protect buildings. It is a rod usually with a sharp point at the top. The idea is to attract the lightning to the rod and conduct it safely into the ground.
Benjamin Franklin's lightning bells are used as a warning device to alert us when lightning is in the area. The bells are attached to a rod and when the rod is electrically charged the bells ring. Sometimes sparks even jump from one to another.
Many scientists worked with electricity but Nikola Tesla was fascinated with lightning. There are pictures of him sitting in his laboratory in Colorado with lightning flowing all around him. He built an elaborate system of poles with transformers on them to capture the electrical charge from lightning to experiment with all sorts of electrical equipment.
Tesla was also known to play with ball lightning to entertain and astound people around him. He was comfortable with lightning because he knew it so well. Most people are not so lucky.
Britney Wehrle was an 11 year old girl. It was a bright sunny day and she was walking with her friend when she was suddenly struck by lightning. Her friend was totally uninjured but Britney suffered a burn on her shoulder and a broken arm.
In Connecticut 15 men were maintaining the grounds at a golf course when a sudden storm sprang up. They immediately took cover at one of the shelters on the course. Lightning hit the ground near to their shelter. Even though none of them were directly hit they were all taken to hospitals nearby. Three were kept for observation.
Roy Sullivan was a park ranger who was struck by lightning a total of seven separate times between 1942 and 1977. In the first incident his thumb and leg were burned. Next he had burned eyebrows. Then his shoulder was burned. After that his hair was scorched. The fifth time burned his legs. His ankle was then hit by lightning. The last time burned his chest and abdomen. Mr Sullivan also suffered from psychological problems and severe depression because of the lightning strikes. In 1983 he committed suicide.
In Bulgaria Martha Maiko allowed an American tourist to hide from a storm in her house. One week later they married. Two months later her husband was struck by lightning and died. Her life went on and a few years later she remarried to a Frenchman. When they were on a trip to Spain her second husband died as the result of being struck by lightning. She returned home but had a hard time dealing with her grief. She eventually married the doctor who treated her for her depression. They were married in Berlin. During a trip to France their car was struck by lightning and her husband was killed. There is no record of her marrying again.
A class of school children in Japan went on a field trip. To keep the students together the teacher had them hold onto a rope. Suddenly lightning struck the rope and half the children were killed. The really odd thing was that every even numbered child was killed and every odd numbered child survived. As a matter of fact the survivors were not even burned.
Knowing about lightning and how to protect yourself from being hurt by it is important. As you can see that does not always work. Knowing what to do if you or someone else is hit by lightning is also important. Learn CPR and know how to deal with your emergency telephone service.