January 24, 2023

"Benjamin Franklin, who is often inaccurately said to have discovered electricity, once shocked himself while trying to electrocute a turkey."

"Franklin believed that 'birds kill’d in this manner eat uncommonly tender,' although modern poultry research... appears to indicate that the flesh of birds killed by electricity might actually be tougher. Franklin’s testimony is one of the earliest accounts of what it feels like to touch the wrong wire. 'I have lately made an experiment in electricity that I desire never to repeat,' he wrote to his brother. Witnesses told him that 'the flash was very great, and the crack as loud as a pistol; yet, my senses being instantly gone, I neither saw the one nor heard the other.' Of the shock itself, he wrote that he felt 'what I know not how to describe—a universal blow through my whole body from my head to my foot, which seemed within as well as without; after which the first thing I took note of was a violent, quick shaking of my body.' As a boy I once shocked myself severely by plugging in a light for my fish tank while my hands were wet. The current that traveled up my arm seemed to make its own path. When it was over, I thought, I’m still here."


madAsHell said...

Did the shock tenderize his meat??

Blastfax Kudos said...

Franklin wanted the national bird to be a turkey. This is practically like hearing George Washington wanted to electrocute a bald eagle.

rcocean said...

Sorry Off-topic, but Ben franklin didn't "Believe" electricity made the meat more tender. He compared the meat and found it more tender. T

And I sincerly doubt "modern poultry reseach" (WTF!) has disproved, Ben Franklin's opinion. I'm suprised the author didn't write "Fact-check: Ben Franklin is wrong"

Lurker21 said...

And yet Franklin wanted to make the Turkey our national bird?

There's a rumor that Walt Disney is going to replace Franklin on the $100 bill. How crazy would that be.

If Franklin actually did the kite and key experiment (which has been questioned) then he probably did discover that lightning was electrical in nature.

Speaking of electrocution, I was curious a few years ago about the French singer who performed barefoot and died after she stepped on a live wire, and now every time I go on Youtube it wants to show me videos by Barbara Weldens, including her hit "Où sont mes nichons?"

rhhardin said...

Turkey carried the kite up into the thunderstorm.

Xmas said...

Franklin would have been shocked by a direct current discharge of Leyden jars, what we now call a capacitor. This more like shocking yourself from a car battery than an 60 hertz AC shock from a wall socket.

n.n said...

Scalping America one baby at a time. Decapitating America one head at a time.

tim maguire said...

The first time I got a shock was by sticking my finger in an open socket to see what was inside. It's also one of my earliest memories. I'm my parent's 8th child; you'd think by then they would have figured out how a child-proof a house. But maybe what they figured out was if one of us got killed, they'd still have 7 more, so why go to all the trouble? (Eventually they had 9 and, despite their lackadaisical attitude towards our safety, we all survived into adulthood.)

My most recent shock was on purpose--I touched an electric fence at a stable to see what they were prepared to subject the horses to. It wasn't painful, but it got my attention and I didn't do it twice.

Estoy_Listo said...

When I was a boy, in the 50's, we received a gift the whole family could use: an electric hot dog cooker. Just plug the wienie into the opposing electrodes and turn on the juice. Can't say it tenderized anything, but it did add a piquant note of aluminum to the meat.

pious agnostic said...

Franklin's reputation as a writer is well deserved: his description of his shock is instantly recognizable as such to anyone who has touched a live wire.

James K said...

Franklin did invent the lightning rod, and achieved international celebrity status for his work.

I don't think I've ever gotten a shock from anything stronger than static electricity, though I caused a pretty dramatic spark when being careless with the cables while jump starting a car.

Rocco said...

"Benjamin Franklin, who is often inaccurately said to have discovered electricity, once shocked himself while trying to electrocute a turkey."

And what else was he doing to that turkey? Somehow, I feel that there is more to the story than what has been told.

Tom T. said...

I've always wondered if electricity is like snake venom, such that you could build up a tolerance.

Lem Former Twitter Aficionado said...

Illuminating the Brain’s ‘Utter Darkness’.


The First Time I saw Bob Dylan.

FullMoon said...

First zap was disassembling an electric clock when nine or ten. Learning experience.

Numerous since, despite precautions. 220 pretty exciting. Latest from gifted stun gun, and then from disconnected electric hoist.

Hoist educated me about capacitors storing electricity. A real eye opener.

madAsHell said...

We had a Zenith B&W TV in the early '60's. My mother had a bag full of vacuum tubes. I think she had complete suite of vacuum tubes in the bag for the Zenith TV.

When the TV was mis-behaving, Mom would dive into the back of the TV, and start replacing tubes. It was an Easter egg hunt, but she impressed me.

Soon....10 years old??......I was diving into the back of the TV to *fix* things. I think most of the problems were the TV antenna, and the weather.

My Dad thought for sure I would be electrocuted by a capacitor. "Keep your hands off the capacitors!!"

"What's a capacitor, Dad?"

Curious George said...

Shocked twice. First as a kid trying to plug a fluorescent fixture into a receptacle in our basement in the laundry area. It was dark and I misaligned the plug...one lead into the hot side of the receptacle, the other touching the metal box completing the circuit. That stopped the insertion and made my fingers touch both leads of the plug. Next the thing I remember is getting up off the floor. The saving grace was the current went in one finger and out another. I know some electricians actually test to set if a circuit is energized this way.

The second zap was similar, wiring a receptacle, the last to complete a job, without turning power off, and got a good zap, dropping the metal box that out a chip in a glass stove top. Again in one finger, out another.

Saint Croix said...

"Benjamin Franklin, who is often inaccurately said to have discovered electricity, once shocked himself while trying to electrocute a turkey."

I thought Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird, replacing the bald eagle.

And he's frying the damn things!

Anyway, I worked the google and apparently he was joking about the turkey.

Saint Croix said...

And I vote for turkey over snake. The snake people, I'm like, what the fuck? Somebody explain the Gadsden flag to me.

When some Ayatollah says we're the "Great Satan," I'm like, "Well, he's probably looking at the Gadsden flag."

If I was in a political debate with an Ayatollah -- which so far I have avoided -- I would point out that we voted that flag down. That's right! You serpent fans don't have the votes.

I look at paintings and all the Founding Fathers are wearing white wigs. So you think they are proper and shit. But some of them are kind of Hell's Angels, or at least Hellfire Club. I'm talking to you, Ben Franklin! Secret snake tattoos, I'm guessing.

Anyway, we want with stars and stripes. Betsy Ross, bitches!.

Saint Croix said...

And I sincerly doubt "modern poultry reseach" (WTF!) has disproved, Ben Franklin's opinion.

ha ha ha ha

every November, I'm eating that turkey

tasting it

testing it

Ben Franklin, he's dead now

but maybe he was right

add some gravy

follow the science

and people think I'm a turkey glutton


I'm working!

Working hard!




Finally, one day, I announce my findings to my contemporaries

"I think Ben Franklin..."

and they're all leaning in to hear me, because I am a well known dark meat specialist

"...was right about the turkey."

Saint Croix said...

"I have lately made an experiment in electricity that I desire never to repeat"

I can picture Marvin the Martian saying that.

rastajenk said...

Bennie Franklin: "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fry."

gadfly said...

Slaughterhouses prepare pigs to die by stunning them using CO2 (animals are lowered into a chamber that is 90 percent CO2), although sometimes electrical stunning is used. Larger animals are taken down using a penetrating captive bolt to do the stunning. Don't let those muscles tighten up at death.

So Ben had the right idea.

boatbuilder said...

I didn't find anything about poultry in my extensive 2 minute internet search, but I did find this:

So maybe Ben was on to something.

Although if this worked, you would think the Tyson or Purdue people would have figured it out by now. (Maybe they have).

Saint Croix said...

Blastfax Kudos beats me at 11:24 a.m.

I'm coming in way late, nine hours later.

The early bird gets the worm!

That sounds like some shit Franklin might have said.

(How would you like it if you showed up at 6:00 a.m. to work hard and then the smart-ass sitting in the back of the class who rolls in at 10:00 a.m. calls you a worm-eater? Dude!)