| The vicious-looking device at the right I discovered in
the collection of Oberlin College. After I got over the shock of seeing
it, I realized that it was the top-most section of a lightning rod system.
Later I saw the same device in the upper left-hand corner of the frontispiece to the 1844 edition of Henry Noad's Lectures on Electricity. A conductor runs down the left side of the engraving to ground, and a simple lightning rod system runs down the right-hand side.
Benjamin Franklin is responsible for the employment of lightning rods on houses. In the nineteenth century lightning rod systems were installed on the wooden masts of sailing ships.