November 27-28, 2014
November 27, 2014, the fourth Thursday of November, is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Tikalon is on holiday with the rest of the country, but I've collected some interesting Thanksgiving-related items from previous posts.[1-2]
Turkey is the traditional centerpiece of this holiday dinner, and Benjamin Franklin is closely associated with turkey for several reasons. Franklin preferred the turkey to the bald eagle as the symbol of the United States. As he wrote in a letter to his daughter, Sarah Bache, on January 26, 1784,
"For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country... The Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America."
Franklin was an early "Electrician," and he performed some of the first experiments with electricity after retiring from his printing business in 1745. Franklin believed that electrocuted turkeys were much more tender than otherwise prepared birds. In the summer of 1749, Franklin hosted a barbecue in which an electrocuted turkey was roasted and served. The fire was lighted electrically, and Franklin had improvised an electrically actuated motor to rotate the turkey on a spit.
Franklin may have tempered his experiments with turkeys after 1750. On December 23, 1750, Franklin attempted to electrocute a turkey for his Christmas dinner. He used two large Leyden jars (a primitive air dielectric capacitor) which he described as having the capacitance of forty typical jars. He took a shock through his arms that knocked him unconscious. When he came to his senses, he felt a "violent, quick shaking of my body, which gradually remitted."
Franklin was numb for a while, and he was sore for a few days thereafter. Franklin communicated this accident to others who were experimenting with electricity to warn them of the dangers.
|He went on to conduct experiments that proved that electric charge was conserved, and he invented the lightning rod after observing that sharp points more easily released and accepted charge. His experiments are summarized in his paper, "Experiments and Observations on Electricity."|
(An engraving of Benjamin Franklin's kite experiment, page 159 (Fig. 82) of Natural Philosophy for Common and High Schools (1881) by Le Roy C. Cooley, via Wikimedia Commons.)
- Thanksgiving, This Blog, November 24-25, 2011.
- Physicists Prefer Turkeys, This Blog, April 30, 2007.
- Benjamin Franklin, letter to Sarah Bache, January 26, 1784, The Library of Congress.
- December 23, 1750: Ben Franklin Attempts to Electrocute a Turkey, APS News vol. 15, no. 11 (December 2006).
- Benjamin Franklin, "Experiments and Observations on Electricity," Minutes of a Meeting of the Royal Society, June 6, 1751 (Via Google Books).
Permanent Link to this article
Linked Keywords: Thursday; November; Thanksgiving Day; United States; Tikalon; holiday; turkey; tradition; traditional; turducken; Wikimedia Commons; wild turkey; Benjamin Franklin; US national bird; bald eagle; Great Seal of the United States; letter; daughter; Sarah Bache; Electrician; experiment; electricity; retirement; Poor Richard's Almanack; printing business; electrocution; electrocute; summer; barbecue; roasting; roasted; fire; electric motor; rotation; rotate; rotisserie; spit; Christmas dinner; Leyden jar; dielectric; capacitor; capacitance; electric shock; arm; unconsciousness; unconscious; sense; danger; electric charge; charge conservation; invention; invent; lightning rod; academic publishing; paper; engraving; kite experiment.
Latest Books by Dev Gualtieri
Thanks to Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing for his favorable review of Secret Codes!
Blog Article Directory on a Single Page
- J. Robert Oppenheimer and Black Holes - April 24, 2017
- Modeling Leaf Mass - April 20, 2017
- Easter, Chicks and Eggs - April 13, 2017
- You, Robot - April 10, 2017
- Collisions - April 6, 2017
- Eugene Garfield (1925-2017) - April 3, 2017
- Old Fossils - March 30, 2017
- Levitation - March 27, 2017
- Soybean Graphene - March 23, 2017
- Income Inequality and Geometrical Frustration - March 20, 2017
- Wireless Power - March 16, 2017
- Trilobite Sex - March 13, 2017
- Freezing, Outside-In - March 9, 2017
- Ammonia Synthesis - March 6, 2017
- High Altitude Radiation - March 2, 2017
- C.N. Yang - February 27, 2017
- VOC Detection with Nanocrystals - February 23, 2017
- Molecular Fountains - February 20, 2017
- Jet Lag - February 16, 2017
- Highly Flexible Conductors - February 13, 2017
- Graphene Friction - February 9, 2017
- Dynamic Range - February 6, 2017
- Robert Boyle's To-Do List for Science - February 2, 2017
- Nanowire Ink - January 30, 2017
- Random Triangles - January 26, 2017
- Torricelli's law - January 23, 2017
- Magnetic Memory - January 19, 2017
- Graphene Putty - January 16, 2017
- Seahorse Genome - January 12, 2017
- Infinite c - January 9, 2017
- 150 Years of Transatlantic Telegraphy - January 5, 2017
- Cold Work on the Nanoscale - January 2, 2017
- Holidays 2016 - December 22, 2016
- Ballistics - December 19, 2016
- Salted Frogs - December 15, 2016
- Negative Thermal Expansion - December 12, 2016
- Verbal Cues and Stereotypes - December 8, 2016
- Capacitance Sensing - December 5, 2016
- Gallium Nitride Tribology - December 1, 2016
- Lunar Origin - November 27, 2016
- Pumpkin Propagation - November 24, 2016
- Math Anxiety - November 21, 2016
- Borophene - November 17, 2016
- Forced Innovation - November 14, 2016
- Combating Glare - November 10, 2016
- Solar Tilt and Planet Nine - November 7, 2016
- The Proton Size Problem - November 3, 2016
- Coffee Acoustics and Espresso Foam - October 31, 2016
- SnIP - An Inorganic Double Helix - October 27, 2016
- Seymour Papert (1928-2016) - October 24, 2016
- Mapping the Milky Way - October 20, 2016
- Electromagnetic Shielding - October 17, 2016
- The Lunacy of the Cows - October 13, 2016
- Random Coprimes and Pi - October 10, 2016
- James Cronin (1931-2016) - October 6, 2016
- The Ubiquitous Helix - October 3, 2016
- The Five-Second Rule - September 29, 2016
- Resistor Networks - September 26, 2016
- Brown Dwarfs - September 22, 2016
- Intrusion Rheology - September 19, 2016
- Falsifiability - September 15, 2016
- Fifth Force - September 12, 2016
- Renal Crystal Growth - September 8, 2016
- The Normality of Pi - September 5, 2016
- Metering Electrical Power - September 1, 2016
Deep Archive 2006-2008