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Masonic News & Views -- The lightning well
June 27, 2010
We're in the midst of a power outage here at the CowChows, so I am reduced to writing this by hand and candlelight. It sure helps put things in perspective when the lights go out. I can't simply ask Google a question to ensure that my dates are correct and my facts are factual. I can't even use the Backspace key when I make misteaks.
Sitting here in the dark, the shadows of the flickering candle flame dancing about the room, one can't help but imagine what life was like before our homes were electrified. There was a time, even before computers, when electricity was not simply waiting at the flip of a switch. No siree; you had to go out to the lightning well and fetch it.
Back in 18??, a long time ago, Eli Whitney wanted electricity for his cotton gin. So, he called up Alexander Bell because he was the smartest guy he knew, but Benjamin Franklin was listening in on the party line and that's how he came to invent the lightning well. The invention was very simple in theory, but it ran into to a couple of problems early on.
Most of us were taught that the purpose of a lightning rod was to throw off Thor's aim, but it is not so. Lightning rods were the primary piece of the lightning well. By driving a lightning rod deep into the earth and placing a lightning cap at the end a lightning bolt could be captured and its power stored for future use. When you needed electricity for something you would just go out to the lightning well and tap a shock off the top.
It was a great idea and, as I said, it worked very well in theory. Unfortunately, early adopters of the system didn't always read the instruction manuals. Shoes of that time, of course, contained steel nails which served as an effective ground when people removed the cap to tap the well. By the time people understood that you had to jump up in the air and tap a shock of electricity before coming back down the damage to the reputation of the lightning well had already been done.
Another problem that arose was with nature herself. The system was only reliable in parts of the country where thunderstorms were frequent enough to keep the lightning wells topped off with fresh bolts. This, of course, accounts for the manner in which Oklahoma, Kansas, and parts of Missouri were populated. But, transporting fully charged lightning bolts to parts of the country where thunderstorms were rare proved dangerous and simply too costly.
It's just amazing to contemplate the hardships our ancestors dealt with as they invented, designed and built the conveniences that we take for granted today. We should often pause and give thanks for those who made our lives possible and to consider the lives we are passing on to future generations.
As soon as the power comes back on I'll confirm the historical facts of this account but in the meantime, enjoy the light!
Now, on with the news........................
Monday, June 28, 2010: Branson Lodge No. 587 will meet in Special Communication for work in the 2nd Degree of Freemasonry. Brothers Stephen Crockerall, Michael Jett, and Michael Gast will be candidates for further light in Freemasonry. Dinner will be ready at 6:00 and Lodge will be duly Opened at 7:00 PM. Brethren, come on down and see some good ritual work and have a good dinner along with a lot of good fellowship.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010: Friend Lodge No. 352 will meet in Special Communication to pass two duly prepared candidates to the degree of Fellow Craft. Dinner will be ready at 6:30 and Lodge will be duly Opened at 7:00 PM. Friend Lodge is located at 307 S 2nd Ave in Ozark, MO and can be found on the Missouri Masonic Lodge Map page.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010: Gate of the Temple Lodge No. 422 will meet in Special Communication for work in the 3rd Degree of Freemasonry. Two duly prepared candidates are expected to be raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Lodge will be duly Opened at 6:00 PM and there will be nourishment following the work.
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