lightening and electricity are the same thing

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When Benjamin Franklin was conducting his scientific experiments in electricity, he said, "I never was before engaged in any study that so engrossed my attention and my time as this has lately done . . . ." His "Philadelphia Experiments" resulted in the discovery of electricity. We think of Franklin as an inventor and a statesman, but possibly his most significant role was that of scientist.
Franklin's single-fluid theory of electricity and his proof that there are electric sparks in lightning--which resulted in the invention of the lightning rod--placed him and his home, Philadelphia, at the forefront of modern technology.
On June 15, 1752, Franklin demonstrated his theory that lightning and electricity are the same by drawing lightning from the clouds with a key and a kite during a lightning storm. His letter describing his experiments was read before the Royal Society of London that December. Legend has it that the experiment took place on a lot on the east side of Ridge Road, near the intersection with Buttonwood Street, and that Franklin was assisted by his son William.
Janice L. Booker, Philly Firsts: The Famous, Infamous, and Quirky of the City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia: Camino Books, Inc., 1999), pp. 203-4.

Ridge Avenue   Like so many of the early roads leading out of Philadelphia, Ridge Avenue followed an old Indian trail. It was so named because it was situated on the ridge between the Schuylkill [River] and the Wissahickon [Creek]. The first settlers referred to it as the Manatawny or Plymouth Road, because it lead toward the Manatawny Creek and to Plymouth Meeting.
In 1803, the citizens of the area petitioned the legislature for a turnpike road along the ridge. This petition was refused because the Germantown Turnpike [which also follows an ole Indian trail] ran parallel to it. Eight years later, an act was passed "to enable the government to incorporate a company for making an artificial road beginning at the intersection of Vine and tenth Street[s]" and running on to the Perkiomen. The route was to be "as near as may be consistent with economy and utility, to Wissahickon creek; thence to Barren Hill; thence to Norristown in the County of Montgomery; and thence by the nearest and best route to the Perkioming bridge in the county aforesaid."
The Ridge Avenue Turnpike Company must have acted swiftly because the Ridge Road is listed in the street Directories beginning in 1813. The road was extended by the jury in 1836 to cover the span from Vine to Cambridge. The remainder was opened by affidavit between 1883 and 1904. The turnpike was freed from toll prior to 1873.
Robert I. Alotta, Mermaids, Monasteries, Cherokees and Custer: the stories behind Philadelphia street names (Chicago: Bonus Books, Inc., 1990), pp. 194-5.



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