From Flying the Kite to Energy Independence
By J. Ward Larkin
1 June 1752
Although debated exactly Where and When, it is unequivocally true that the Experiment with The Kite and Lightening occurred this month somewhere in or around Philadelphia. Many assert it was on the First of June, a Few say the Tenth or the Fifteenth. Others claim it was in a field on Lombard or on Arch Streets and it was even sometimes reported to be in Bensalem. While disbelievers feel it is an Urban Legend or Myth. But I tell you: This is the month of its 257th Anniversary of the "Ole' Kite and Key."
To recognize that Lightning had the same characteristics as Static Electricity was not completely novel. This Energy Form was a not a Scientific Phenomenon but more a Parlor Game of its' time. To determine a pragmatic use for this Harnessed power escaped me, (although I did find killing a Turkey with it was clean, efficient as well as humane while the Bird proved particularly tender) it seemed more trouble than it was worth!
The application of the Leyden Jar made it possible to store electricity much like the modern day Battery. But alas, minimal Practical application. Upon reflection to think that it could have been facilitated in place of the then ubiquitous Fossil Fuels still bewilders me. Imagine; had we Applied the use of Solar or Wind Power in our own Back Yards rather than being at the mercy of foreign and often unfriendly governments near and far. Electricity now drives everything from Automobiles to Locomotives and Lap Top Computers. All with a Renewable Source without being bound to hostile suppliers.
In Closing, I am amused to look at the drawing of myself and my son William, he is portrayed as a Boy (see below); when actually he was a strapping young man of 22 years of age. Imagine the Government's intervention today if there were reports of a minor outside his "Child Proofed" Cocoon, playing in a Thunder Storm. Surely the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services would have been at my door by morning .
Enjoy this beginning of the summer season and remember my participation in the expression: "We will Leave a Light on for you!"