Electricity and Socks(?)

Have you ever wondered what is the relationship between electricity and colorful socks? You haven’t? Well, apparently someone did and that was back in 1759.

That someone is Robert Symmer. A ‘Natural Philosopher‘ of Scottish descent, Symmer mused about the degree of electric charge in silk stockings; among other things. In an article entitled New Experiments and Observations concerning Electricity, he claimed that if you wear single colored sock rather than mixed ones, you are safe from being electrocuted by your own socks! Heh, just kidding.

Here is the word from the man himself:

“I took a pair of white silk stockings, and having warmed them at the fire put them both upon the same leg.

After I had worn them for about ten minutes I took them off, and pulled them asunder, but discovered no signs of electricity in either. I did the same with a pair of black silk, but to no other effect.


I then proceeded to the decisive trial.

I put a black and a white stocking upon my leg, and wore them likewise ten minutes. I waited with some impatience to see the success of my experiment, and in return had the satisfaction of observing, upon their being pulled asunder, that each of them had acquired a stronger degree of electricity than I had before seen : they were inflated so much that each of them shewed the entire shape of the leg, and at the distance of a foot and a half they rushed to meet each other.

I went though the same experiment with worsted stockings, and found that, as in silk, nothing but the combination of black and white produced electricity”.

There you have it. But Symmer concluded that further experiments are needed to come to a definite conclusion.

So, are you interested?

[Of the electricity of the human body, and the animal substances, silk and wool]

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2 thoughts on “Electricity and Socks(?)

  1. Thanks Salman,
    Actually i wonder about the relationship between electricity and colorful socks. Nice work man … keep it up ….

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