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June 10, 2017


Mahonri M. Young (1877-1957),

Kite Flying on Laurel Hill, 20th century, conte, 6 3/8 x 13 5/8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchase/gift of the Mahonri M. Young Estate.

On this day in 1752, Benjamin Franklin conducted his famous kite experiment, wherein he sought to prove the electrical properties of lightning. Franklin, well-known for his role during the American Revolution, was also an inventor and scientist. He was fascinated by electricity, which was little-studied at the time. To prove the electrical properties of lightning, Franklin tied a metal key to a kite, which he flew during a thunderstorm. Electric charge began accumulating in the the Leyden jar that Franklin had at the end of the string, thus proving the electricity in lightning. Today's artwork of the day commemorates Franklin's famous lightening experience with a quaint image of kite-flying (no doubt on a finer day than Franklin's thunderstorm).