With an Account of Benjamin Franklin's Kite Experiment


Ragionamento sopra il conduttore elettrico Quirinale dell'abate Giuseppe Calandrelli

Rome: nella stamperia Salomoni, 1789


Octavo: 20.5 x 140 cm. [2], xxxvi p.


This is a beautiful copy in contemporary red pasteboard with gold floral impressions, and decorative paste-paper pastedowns. The text, printed on thick paper, is in excellent condition. A very fresh copy. The engraved title-page has a vignette of the Quirinale palace in Rome with the lightning conductor installed on its roof.

First edition of this rare publication, dealing with the construction of the lightning conductor installed on the Quirinal Palace in Rome (in order to prevent further damage from lightning strikes.)

Calandrelli discusses the electrical experiments of other well-known scientists such as Priestley, Toaldo, Landriani, De Saussure, Reccaria, Lord Malion, and above all, those of Benjamin Franklin, including Franklin's iconic kite experiment of June 1752. The kite experiment is described on pages 2-3. On pages 4 and 5 credit is given to Franklin (who understood that electricity prefers metal to all other materials as a conductor) for the invention of the lightning rod "to protect buildings from fatal lightning strikes". This invention, Calandrelli asserts, should be of interest to all, but especially to those who live in North America, "where storms are more frequent and more severe." Franklin's observations of the lightning rods erected by William Maine in South Carolina, and of William West in Philadelphia, are also included in Calandrelli's account.

Wheeler Gift 554