A series of animals are tested for conductivity by Benjamin Franklin before he determines a metal key is more suitable.

The strangeness levels have increased and historical accuracy decreased in this key experiment illustration. While there is some speculation as to whether Benjamin Franklin actually flew a kite with a key attached during an electrical storm, it is highly unlikely that he flew a kite with various animals attached during a storm.

I’ve always been fascinated by weather and storms in particular. The story of Benjamin Franklin flying a kite with lightning near by has an aspect of cringe-worthy awe to it.

My mind was doing it’s own thing when I thought of him attaching different animals on his kite before trying a key. It may seem a bit obscure / obtuse and I was in two minds as to whether to add some explanatory text on the drawing. Perhaps even the words “Key Experiment”. I decided against it, in the hope that it might produce a self-derived a-ha moment (at least, if not ha-ha).

If anyone is left scratching their head over it, hopefully they will read this and (no doubt groan and roll their eyes as they) realise (if they hadn’t already) that all of the attached animals shown (turkey, donkey and monkey) end in the letters ‘key’.

I don’t often do sequential panels, but because Benjamin and the kite are pretty much the same in each, it only really meant having to draw four different characters and some random clouds and lightning.


Looking at it again, I just had the revelation that I should have drawn Benjamin Franklin’s hair standing on end in the fourth panel to indicate the presence of static electricity. This will now also be on my to do list… and it’s now done. I have also created a little animation (see photo-sensitivity notice below) which can be seen by clicking on the image to the left (633 KB).

People with photosensitive epilepsy perhaps shouldn’t view as the image contains flickering light to simulate lightning.

All animals survived the storm unscathed though they were mildly agitated.