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Lightning Rod

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How do mariners protect themselves from lightning at sea?

The tall ships of Britain designed for trade, war and exploration faced many dangers from both sea and land. But with mainmasts reaching as high as sixty meters, they also faced a threat from the sky - lightning.

In 1752, the experiments of American inventor Benjamin Franklin proved that a sharp, pointed rod could be used to attract lightning.   But the museum contains an artifact that proves that fifty years after Franklin’s discovery, the French Navy continued to use blunt rods, not sharp.

Were the French on to something with their unconventional design?   Are modern, sharp lightning rods sharp the best defense against a lightning strike – or not?


jondank • #45 • 2013-04-20 05:54:07
Your suggestion that the French were on to something in respect if their blunt lightning rod reveals that you do not understand the physics of lightning rods. The fact is that rods that are pointy or have many points allow the charge that has built u

krinca • #91 • 2015-04-17 14:44:10
Actually, if you watched the episode, you would see the extensive testing between straight rods and this old curved style. \nThe new physics students assumed that with all our collective knowledge nowadays that the French just didn\'t know what they