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Ben Franklin’s turkey experiment

franklin_250wIn December 1750, Franklin learned one lesson the hard way, when he shocked himself while trying to electrocute a holiday turkey. Franklin believed electrocuting the turkey made it uncommonly tender. When he began his electrical experiments in about 1745, Franklin had already retired from his printing business, which was good, because he soon became so absorbed in the experiments he had little time for anything else. “I never was before engaged in any study that so totally engrossed my attention and my time, as this has lately done,” Franklin wrote to his English friend Peter Collinson in a letter thanking him for the gift of a Leyden jar with directions for charging it.

—So wrote Ernie Tretkoff for the American Physical Society a few years ago. (Thanks to David Saltzberg for bringing this to our attention.)

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