image tracts_406_7_frontispiece
Image number: RS.11875
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Frigate struck by lightning



Object type

Library reference

Tracts 406/7/1




height (print): 130mm
width (print): 208mm


Content object

   > ship
   > weather


Landscape showing the Royal Navy vessel H.M.S.Fisgard being struck by a lightning in the Nisqually River, Oregon Territory (now Washington State, USA).

Frontispiece plate from the monograph Remarkable instances of the protection of certain ships of Her Majesty’s Navy, from the destructive effects of lightning by W. Snow Harris (London, 1847).

The illustration is inscribed below: ‘H.M. FRIGATE FISGARD OF 42 GUNS. Protected from a heavy discharge of Lightning, 24th September 1846.’

Accompanying text describes the event: ‘A terrific explosion of thunder and lightning is reported to have fallen on the mainmast of the Fisgard on the evening of Saturday the 26th September, 1846, whilst at anchor…The current of lightning evenly divided…as represented in the frontispiece…’

Sir William Snow Harris (1791-1867) British natural philosopher and expert on lightning protection was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1831. He championed the idea of using lightning conductors on sailing ships. H.M.S Beagle was among the early test vessels.

Associated place

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