Zapped: Ben Franklin flew a kite, changed the world

This day in history: June 10

George W Bush
FILE – In this March 23, 2006, file photo, President George W. Bush, right, speaks after a performance by re-enactor Ralph Archbold, left, portraying Benjamin Franklin to mark the 300th anniversary of Franklin's birth on Jan. 17, 1706, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Archbold, who portrayed Franklin in Philadelphia for more than 40 years, died Saturday, March 25, 2017, at age 75, according to the Alleva Funeral Home in Paoli, Pa. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Benjamin Franklin didn’t invent electricity. He didn’t even really discover it. But what he did do 265 years ago was figure it out when he famously flew a kite.

On June 10, 1752, Franklin flew a kite during a thunderstorm and, when the kite was hit by lightning, collected the charge in a Leyden jar, says. He’d been interested in electricity for about a decade and conducted experiments over that time. But the kite gave him the information he needed to explain electricity.

Later he invented the lightning rod, which is used to protect ships and buildings.

He also coined electrical terms we still use today: battery, conductor, electrician.

Franklin’s kite experiment came exactly 60 years to the day of the first execution from the Salem witch trials. Bridget Bishop was hanged in Massachusetts in 1692.

In 1967, Oscar winner Spencer Tracy died just days after completing work on “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.” He was 67.

Fifteen years later, in 1982, Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi fantasy “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” had its world premiere in Los Angeles.

Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, died at 88 one year ago, the same day Muhammad Ali was laid to rest in Louisville.

And on the opposite end of the age spectrum, Britain’s Prince Philip — Queen Elizabeth’s husband — turns 96, while Sasha Obama celebrates her 16th birthday.

There’s your factoids for June 10 — use them at will.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.