I'm from Czech Republic, born 1980. From elementary school, we all remember this mantra:

When ebonite rod is rubbed with fox fur, electrostatic charge is created. Electrostatic charge is created by rubbing ebonite rod with fox fur. Rubbing ebonite fur with fox fur creates electrostatic charge.

Etc. ad nauseam.


Is there anything special about the combination of ebonite and fox fur that makes it especially useful for teaching kids about electricity?

Does there even exist a clear distinction between things that do and things that don't create electrostatic charge by rubbing?

The irony: I can't remember ever hearing the word 'ebonite' in any other context than this particular strange example. (I never even knew what ebonite was until about 15 minutes ago when I googled it.)

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Fur and amber is the traditional version, but amber is not cheap. $\endgroup$ – Buzz Jan 12 at 6:26

Static electricity is observed with a plastic comb after you comb dry hair. So there is nothing special about ebonite except ancient report which led to the name electricity.

  • $\begingroup$ I think you are confusing ebonite with amber (named electrum in Latin, from elektron in Greek). Ebonite is hardly ancient, it was invented by Goodyear in 1839. $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Jan 12 at 12:45
  • $\begingroup$ You are absolutely right. I did make that mistake about the name. But the physics argument stands. There is nothing special about ebonite or fir that matter amber $\endgroup$ – Dr S T Lakshmikumar Jan 12 at 15:22

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