YPM catalog no. 1.442
The eighteenth century is commonly known as the period of
“Enlightenment.” During the Enlightenment, science became more
dependent on rational thinking and experimentation. Scientific activity
also became a part of the free education movement giving women and the
poor an opportunity to learn. Books were expensive and not everyone
could read, so public demonstrations of science became immensely
A thunderhouse demonstrates the principle of a lightening rod. A spark strikes the top of the tower and travels down an insulated rod to ignite some gunpowder positioned at the bottom.
If a chain was attached to the bottom of the rod and connected externally to a piece of wood, for example, the electric current would not ignite the gunpowder. Instead the current would flow through the chain and safely away from the house.