An experiment with lightning conductors, 1778-1780.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by J Basire after Michael Angelo Rooker titled 'A View of the Apparatus and Part of the Great Cylinder in the Pantheon', showing Benjamin Wilson's cylinder electrostatic generator with huge lightning conductors. In an effort to dispute Benjamin Franklin's belief that pointed rods were better conductors of lightning than rounded conductors, English electrician Wilson (1721-1788) set up a series of experiments at the Pantheon. Although considered inconclusive at the time, the artificially generated lightning preferred Franklin's rods.