January 15, 2013

Make Artificial Lightning and Artificial Thunder

Provide a tin tube that is larger at one end than it is at the other,
and in which there are several holes. Fill this tube with powdered
resin; and when it is shook over the flame of a torch, the reflection
will produce the exact appearance of lightning.

Mix two drachms of the filings of iron, with one ounce of concentrated
spirit of vitriol, in a strong bottle that holds about a quarter of a
pint; stop it close, and in a few minutes shake the bottle; then
taking out the cork, put a lighted candle near its mouth, which should
be a little inclined, and you will soon observe an inflammation arise
from the bottle, attended with a loud explosion.

To guard against the danger of the bottle bursting, the best way would
be to bury it in the ground, and apply the light to the mouth by means
of a taper fastened to the end of a long stick.

Another way.

Mix three ounces of saltpetre, two ounces of salt of tartar, and two
ounces of sulphur; roll the mixture up into a ball, of which take a
quantity, about the size of a hazel-nut, and, placing it in a ladle or
shovel over the fire, the explosion will resemble a loud clap of

You will produce a much more violent commotion if you double or treble
the quantity of the last experiment; suppose you put two or three
ounces of the mixture into the shovel. For fear of accidents, it
should not be done in the house, but by placing the shovel over a
chafing-dish of very hot coals, in the open air, standing a great
distance off.

Common prudence will dictate the necessity of using great care in the
above experiments, as an accident will soon happen if a person does
not get out of the way before the composition explodes.


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