What was electricity seen as in 1752? Here is a lecture notice for a public lecture on the topic

Background: This is transcribed from an ad received at a Los Angeles WESCON in 1966, by the T. Louis Snitzer Co. showing a reproduction courtesy of the Rosenbach Foundation, comparing the current state-of-the-art instrumentation (in 1966) with State-of-the-Art instrumentation in 1752.)


Newport, March 16, 1752


Notice is hereby given to the Curious,


That at the COURT-HOUSE, in the Council-Chamber, is now to be exhibited,


and continued from Day to Day, for a Week or two;


A Course of Experiments, on the newly-discovered


Electrical FIRE:


Containing, not only the most curious of those that have been made and published in Europe, but a considerable Number of new Ones lately made in Philadelphia; to be accompanied with methodical LECTURES on the Nature and Properties of that wonderful Element.


By Ebenezer Kinnersley.




* I. Of Electricity in General, giving some Account of the Discovery of it.

* II. That the Electrical Fire is a real Element, and different from those heretofore known and named, and collected out of other Matter (not created) by the Friction of Glass, Etc.

* III. That it is an extremely subtle Fluid.

* IV. That it doth not take up any perceptible Time in passing thro' large Portions of Space.

* V. That it is intimately mixed with the Substance of all the other Fluids and Solids of our Globe.

* VI. That our Bodies at all Times contain enough of it to set a House on Fire.

* VII. That tho' it will fire inflammable Matters, itself has no sensible Heat.

* VIII. That it differs from common Matter, in this: its Parts do not mutually attract, but mutually repel each other.

* IX. That it is strongly attracted by all other Matter.

* X. An artificial Spider, animated by the Electric Fire, so as to act like a live One.

* XI. A Shower of Sand, which rises again as fast as it falls.

* XII. That common Matter in the Form of Points attracts this Fire more strongly than in any other Form.

* XIII. A Leaf of the most weighty of Metals suspended in the Air, as is said of Mohomet's Tomb.

* XIV. An Appearance like Fishes swimming in the Air.

* XV. That this Fire will live in Water, a River not being sufficient to quench the smallest Spark of it.

* XVI. A Representation of the Sensitive Plant.

* XVII. A Representation of the seven Planets, shewing a probable Cause of their keeping their due Distances from each other, and from the Sun in the Center.

* XVIII. The Salute repulsed by the Ladies Fire; of Fire darting from a Ladies Lips, so that she may defy any Person to salute her.

* XIX. Eight musical Bells rung by an electrified Phial of Water.

* XX. A Battery of eleven Guns discharged by Fire issuing out of a Person's Finger.




* I. A Description and Explanation of Mr. Muschenbrock's wonderful Bottle.

* II. The amazing Force of the Electric Fire in passing thro' a Number of Bodies at the same Instant.

* III. An Electric Mine sprung.

* IV. Electrified Money, which scarce any Body will take when offer'd to them.

* V. A Piece of Money drawn out of a Person's Mouth in spite of his Teeth; yet without touching it, or offering him the least Violence.

* VI. Spirits kindled by Fire darting from a Lady's Eyes (without a Metaphor).

* VII. Various Representations of Lightning, the Cause and Effects of which will be explained by a more probable Hypothisis than has higherto appeared, and some useful Instructions given, how to avoid the Danger of it; How to secure Houses, Ships, Etc. from being hurt by its destructive Violence

* VIII The Force of the Electric Spark, making a fair Hole thro' a Quire of Paper.

* IX. Metal melted by it (tho' without any Heat) in less than a thousandth Part of a Minute.

* X. Animals killed by it instantaniously.

* XI. Air issuing out of a Bladder set on Fire by a Spark from a Person's Finger, and burning like a Volcano.

* XII. A few Drops of electrified cold Water let fall on a Person's Hand, supplying him with Fire sufficient to kindle a burning Flame with one of the Fingers of his other Hand.

* XIII. A sulphourous Vapour kindled into Flame by Fire issuing out of a Cold Apple.

* XIV. A curious Machine acting by means of the Electric Fire, and playing Variety of Tunes on eight musical Bells.

* XV. A Battery of eleven Guns discharged by a Spark, after it has passed through ten Foot of Water.


As the Knowledge of Nature tends to enlarge the human Mind, and give us more noble, more grand, and exalted Ideas of the AUTHOR of Nature, and if well pursu'd, seldom fails producing something useful to Man, 'tis hoped these Lectures may be tho't worthy of Regard and Encouragement.


Tickets to be had at the House of the Widow Allen, in Thames Street, next Door to Mr. John Tweedy's. Price Thirty Shillings each Lecture. The Lectures to begin each Day precisely at Three o'Clock in the Afternoon 

An Excalator Hi page titled PopElec1752 by J E D Cline started on Saturday, April 5, 2008 10:39:17 AM US/Pacific

Copyright © 2008 James E. D. Cline. Permission granted to reproduce providing inclusion of a link back to this site and acknowledgment of the author and concept designer James E. D. Cline.