| THUNDER HOUSE: This ingenious
article is made of an upright piece of baked mahogany, formed like the
gable of a house... A wire runs downwards through its entire length. It
is terminated above by a ball, which being unscrewed, shows a point beneath
it. In one or two parts of the gable are square pieces of wood cut out.
These are ¼ of an inch thick and 1 inch square on the side. They
... are made so as to fit loosely into a hole cut partly into the gable
to receive them, and have a wire running across each, so placed, that putting
in the pieces one way, the wires ... form a continuous and uninterrupted
line, and when put in crosswise, there shall be a want of contiguity at
Pass the shock from [the top to the bottom of the wire] while the ball remains on, and the wire is continuous, and it will make a loud report, without
The thunder house at the left below is at the apparatus collection at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. It is missing the lightning rod wire. At the right is the thunder house in the Harvard University Collection. Both of these wooden houses are designed to blow apart from the lightning strike from a Leiden jar.
The tin house below is in the Transylvania collection. An identical Thunder House is in the Cabinet of Physics at Uppsala University in Sweden, and that one was obtained from Paris on or before 1840. The house will fall apart when the powder bomb inside is exploded by the electric shock.
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