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Maryland State House Saved by Original Ben Franklin Lightning Rod

(Photo: Larry Hogan)

When Ben Franklin learned that lightning consists of electricity, he realized that it would be possible to protect a tall building from lightning strikes by connecting a ground wire to a pointed metal rod at the top of that building. He called his invention the lightning rod.

The current State House of Maryland was built in 1797. Before he died in 1790, Franklin drew detailed plans for how his lightning rod was to be installed. The builders followed that plan and it's remained there ever since.

The lightning rod came in handy last Friday, when lightning struck the building. Governor Larry Hogan attributes the preservation of the dome of the State House to Franklin's work:

The Republican governor said in a Facebook post Saturday morning that the lightning rod on the dome "was constructed and grounded to Franklin's exact specifications." He says at the time it was added to the building, it served as "a powerful symbol of the independence and ingenuity of our young nation."

-via Ace of Spades HQ


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