On the 19th ult., during a severe thunder storm, the house of Sterling Armstrong, in Newark, N. J., was struck with lightning, although it had a lightning rod. Some person went and examined the house afterwards, and published a letter in the "Newark Advertiser," asserting that the lightning which struck the houae came out 0/ the ground. This he judged from the course of the lightning and its effects. From the description which he gave of the effects of this flash of lightning, no evidence was presented that would have led us to conclude that it came out of the ground ; we do not believe that a single house ever was struck with lightning from the ground. Since the time the account was first published of this house being struck, E. Mer-riam, of Brooklyn, who has given great attention to such subjects, has visited it and made a careful examination of the course of the lightning and its effects. He has formed a very different opinion from that of the other person who believed that the house was struck with lightning :rom the ground. He describes how the lightning came from the clouds, and minutely points out its course, and the reason why it was so struck while it had a lightning rod. This rod was made of good iron, and was of a proper thickness, but its points were painted with white paint, and so was the whole rod excepting that part on the roof of the house. This was bare; the lightest ning passed from the upper line of the un-painted part until it catne to the paint, then passed off to nails in the shingles, and from them descended through the house. He asserts that he never saw a painted rod perform the duties of a conductor. Here then we have evidence and an opinion that Faraday is wrong in respect to the solid section of the rod ; the surface and not the solid section, according to Mr. Merriam, is the grand desideratum. Nay, this goes to prove that lightning is conducted on the surface only ; for if this were not so, the current spoken of would not have left this rod when it came to the paint, but have passed down through it, as through the covered wires of the telegraph.— There appears to be a discrepancy here, upon which light is required to be shed.
This article was originally published with the title "Lightning from the Earth—Houses Struck" in Scientific American 8, 51, 408 (September 1853)