Richmann's death, 1753.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving made c 1885 from 'Die ElektricitAt im Dienste der Menschheit' (Electricity in the service of mankind) by Alfred Ritter von Urbanitzky (b 1852), published in Vienna in 1885. This shows the death of Professor Georg Richmann, who 'at Petersburgh [St Petersburg], had in his room an insulated iron rod erected for the purpose of studying atmospheric electricity. During a thunderstorm in August, 1753, Richmann approached to observe his rod, when a large spark or ball of fire rushed from it and killed him on the spot. His engineer Sokoloff, who was present at the time, was thrown to the ground, but recovered after a short time'.