Lightning rod  

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  1. A metallic conductor that is attached to a high point of a building and leads to the ground and protects the building from damage by lightning
  2. (metaphorically): a controversial issue; a person who is a target for negative reactions and distracts criticism from another

Lichtenberg was one of the first to introduce Benjamin Franklin's lightning rod to Germany by installing such devices to his house in Göttingen and his garden sheds.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A lightning rod (US, AUS) or lightning conductor (UK) is a metal rod mounted on a structure and intended to protect the structure from a lightning strike. If lightning hits the structure, it will preferentially strike the rod and be conducted to ground through a wire, instead of passing through the structure, where it could start a fire or cause electrocution. Lightning rods are also called finials, air terminals or strike termination devices.

In a lightning protection system, a lightning rod is a single component of the system. The lightning rod requires a connection to earth to perform its protective function. Lightning rods come in many different forms, including hollow, solid, pointed, rounded, flat strips or even bristle brush-like. The main attribute common to all lightning rods is that they are all made of conductive materials, such as copper and aluminum. Copper and its alloys are the most common materials used in lightning protection.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Lightning rod" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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