Ben Franklin and His Kite Experiment, The Real Story

By Karen Harris
A Currier & Ives lithograph of Benjamin Franklin and his son William using a kite and key during a storm to prove that lightning was electricity, June 1752. Source: (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Every school kid has learned the story of Benjamin Franklin and how he discovered electricity by flying a kite into a thunderstorm. The story we learned in grade school, however, is a bit more complex. While it is true that Franklin tied a key to a kite string and ventured off into an electrical storm, his scientific experiment didn't ‘discover’ electricity. But it did aid our understanding of it. Here is the real story of Ben Franklin and his kite.