1749 Poland, city of Breslau (Wroclaw) gunpowder explosion, 32mm, silver, V Fine
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The scene depicts a thunder storm with rain falling down and lightning bolts coming down out of the sky. REVERSE: The lightning has struck the tower filled with gunpowder and the city is leveled. A few horses and people are depicted lying on the ground underneath the ruins.
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Additional Product InformationVery rare and historical medal, contemporary with Benjamin Franklin’s invention of the lightning rod. A rare historical piece that you won’t find very often. I have seen only one other in over 30 years of collecting.
OBVERSE: This medal depicts the city of Breslau with its tower in which gunpowder was stored and the surrounding houses of the city. The scene depicts a thunder storm with rain falling down and lightning bolts coming down out of the sky.
REVERSE: The lightning has struck the tower filled with gunpowder and the city is leveled. A few horses and people are depicted lying on the ground underneath the ruins.
The explosion killed 700 people and destroyed more than 1,000 houses.
Back in these times people thought thunder and lightning were expressions of the wrath of God. Back then, a severe storm could lay whole sections of a city to waste.
A year later, in 1750, the American statesman, scientist and inventor Benjamin Franklin demonstrated the electrical nature of the supposed celestial fire and went on to invent the lightning rod.
Although churches were frequently struck by lightning storms, the clergy held out for a long time against the "heretical" invention. And when Karl Theodor, Elector of Bavaria, wanted to mount the sensational gadget on the top of Nymphenburg Palace, they had to call out the army to ward off religious protesters.
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