Lightning Rod Fashion: The Wearable Tech of the 18th Century

As soon as Benjamin Franklin flew a kite in an electrical storm (and didn't die) and then invented the lightning rod, the idea was appropriated by the fashion world. Electricity was such a modern concept that it became the next big thing for a while. Lightning rod fashion reached its height in fashionable France, where one could purchase a lightning rod hat (le chapeau paratonnerre) equipped with a grounding wire dragging behind the wearer, or carry a lightning rod umbrella (le parapluie-paratonnerre). If it worked to keep a house safe from lightning, why wouldn't it also work for a pedestrian on the streets?

That was just the beginning of electrical fashion. As soon as the battery was invented, the trendiest people rushed to wear jewelry or decorate their clothing with lights. You could even hide the battery in your bustle! Read about the 18th-century fad for electric fashion at Messy Nessy Chic.

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