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Benjamin Franklin's Electrical Experiments that Led to the Discovery of Turkey Tenderization

With the discovery of electricity, Benjamin Franklin experimented on it to understand its different uses and practical applications.

Franklin’s fascination with electricity spilled over to more elaborate parlor tricks. In the summer of 1749 he hosted an electrical feast, which began with Franklin electrocuting a turkey and then roasting it on a spit that was turned by an electrically powered jack.
Franklin’s experiments occasionally went awry. In some of his first attempts at turkey electrocution, the birds were merely stunned, arising a few minutes later after regaining consciousness.
On one memorable occasion, he electrocuted himself instead of the bird.

Despite the mishaps he faced while experimenting with electricity, Franklin never gave up.

Despite this blunder, Franklin continued his explorations in pursuit of a practical use for electricity. In particular, he theorized that electricity could be used to tenderize meat. By 1773 Franklin had not only a hypothesis but specific instructions.

(Image credit: American Philosophical Society)


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