Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My First Lightning Rod

After my visit to the Detroit River I decided to drive around Wyandotte. I haven't been there in awhile, and I wanted to see the town again. I worked in the area at my first job, and I used to like to go back here for several reasons. The river being one of them.

As I was driving around I decided to see if I could find any weather vanes. I actually did find a few, but I'll save them for another time. While I was looking at the top of a few buildings, I thought I saw another weather vane. It turned out to be something a little bit different. It was a lightning rod.

After my first Weather Vane Watch post, I had a request from The Retired One to look for lightning rods as well. I really very much love requests, so I included them in my search. Besides, lightning rods are a similar tool to weather vanes. Instead of measuring wind direction, they divert lightning into the ground where it is diffused.

I'm still not sure what to look for with these, so I hope this is actually a lightning rod. From everything I've read so far, this fits the description. There's not really much else it could be, so it must be a lightning rod.

I found this lightning rod perched atop the main tower of this church. I left the sign on the right in the photo, so you can see where it is located. It's a nice looking neighborhood. I actually wanted to move to Wyandotte for several years, but it never happened for some reason.

Churches are a main location to find lightning rods. My hero, Benjamin Franklin invented his version of the lightning rod not too long before his famous kite experiment with lightning. He actually did the kite experiment because he grew impatient waiting for Christ Church to be built.

He had planned on putting his new lightning rod invention on top of it, so he could experiment with lightning from there. Even though that experiment didn't happen at the time, his lightning rods decorate the tops of many American buildings now. They became a symbol of American ingenuity.

I won't go any further on the history of lightning rods right now. There is plenty of information about them all over the web if you want to know more. The important thing here is that my search for them has finally found it's first results. Even if this turns out not to be a lightning rod, it's still an interesting structure.

To end this post, I'd like to say that our cold winter seems to be warming up quite a bit right now. We are experiencing a false springtime right now. I had planned on visiting one of my hiking trails today, but it began raining shortly after I got home. Maybe tomorrow will be better, but the weather forecast says no.

I want to get a few photos of what all those frozen places look like right now. Whether I get them or not, I still have so many other things to show you that some will be lost to time. My latest little adventure with Alice isn't over yet either. I'll try to show you as much as I can. I'll be back tomorrow.

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  1. Woo-Hoo, you found one! It looked pretty ornate, too. Loved it. Thanks for searching to fulfill my every request. ha I will look forward to seeing more as you find them.

  2. The lightning rods I grew up with were all pretty plain, adorning houses and barns to protect them. They all worked pretty well. They may have actually attracted lightning strikes, but they also did protect. Great find!

  3. I remember farmers in Nebraska pounding long pipes into the ground next to barns to be used as lightning rods. They weren't nearly as pretty as this one.

    Mother Goose

  4. A simple lightning rod can be as beautifully built as this; those I find over here are designed solely to fulfill their function only.

  5. The Retired One - I had a hard time finding any, but this one was unmistakable. I love requests, so it was my pleasure. I'll keep looking for more whenever I can.:)

    Sharkbytes - Attracting lightning was one of the biggest criticisms of Franklin's lightning rods. Tesla later redesigned them to work better, but the Franklin rods are still the ones being used.

    Anonymous - I haven't seen any on barns around here yet, but I'm not very good at identifying them yet either.

    Rainfield - A simple one is good, but there are so many things sticking up into the air here that I have trouble identifying them as lightning rods or not.

  6. Well, you told me to comment so I will.

    Massive tornadoes through Texas last night--I was sure I was going to serve the fate of a lightning rod when I ran out to check the mail.

    What's the statistic for being struck by lighting? More people get bitten by sharks? Or more people get struck by lightning... Either way.

  7. The Lush List - I'm glad you commented. Comment some more any time you want.:)

    I've only see one tornado in my life and it was very small.

    I'm not sure what the statistics are, but I'm think they've said that you have more of a chance of being struck by lightning... twice, than to win our big lottery in Michigan.

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  9. Dr Iqmal - Thanks for the comment.