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1939 - man-made lightning, like Nature's bolts, can set fires


E&MP 72.037

Artificial Lightning

May 27, 1939

Now man-made lightning, like Nature's bolts, can set fires, it has been demonstrated by Westinghouse. [partial text found of the article]

... enormously destructive explosive effects on whatever they hit unless it is adequately protected, they did not last long enough to set fire to combustible targets, only leaving a scorched hole.

The after stroke of "hot" lightning generates temperatures only half as high as the main stroke, but it lasts between 100 and 1,000 times as long.

The long-duration charge is produced by means of additional capacitators[sic] on a transformer from which the charge is "soaked" through a series of resistance and induction coils in oil and permitted to follow the initial high current discharge relatively slowly. In demonstrations, "hot lightning" fused sand in a fiber tube, set fire to cotton cloth, and burned holes through copper sheets varying from one thirty-second to one-sixteenth of an inch thick.

SNL #4287


Original Caption by Science Service

National Museum of American History


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