Pat Shingleton: "Rods, Shoes and Pots..."
"Poor Richard's Almanac" included an article in 1753 entitled "How to Secure Houses from Lightning." An inventor explained the success of his experiments with rods attached to the homes of fellow Philadelphians. In 1760, merchant William West's home was hit by lightning. The rod attached to West's home performed just as its inventor had predicted, and the house remained unscathed. As people in Europe hailed the invention, others were antagonistic to the idea. In addition, church leaders rejected the idea of protecting the church steeples from lightning, believing that these strikes were an act of God. In Italy, military authorities would store explosives in church vaults, feeling they were secure. In 1767, the church of St. Nazaire in Brescia was hit by lightning exploding 100 tons of gunpowder. As you probably know, the inventor of the lightning rod was Benjamin Franklin, still keeping us safe today. From rods to pots...Lobster pots are identified with a tag, noting the owner and port of origin. In 1990, a Korean container ship bound for the United States experienced treacherous weather and 80,000 Nike shoes were swept overboard. Oceanographers used the shoes as “tracers,” providing validation of ocean currents. Shoes from the shipment are still retrieved on beaches from Alaska to Oregon and Hawaii. In 2010, in Waterville, County Kerry Ireland, Rosemary Hill retrieved a lobster pot including a plate depicting the name, Richard F.Gueiredo. The plate came from the Andrea Gail, showcased in Sebastian Junger’s book, “Perfect Storm”. The pot was adrift since October 1991 when it capsized, killing all onboard. The pot drifted for 20 years over 3,000 miles of ocean.