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Lightning Rod Balls

Updated on February 3, 2016

Collecting Antique Lightning Rod Balls

Lightning rod balls were used on the tops of lightning rods partly for decoration, but also as an indicator as to whether the lightning rod has been struck. If the lightning ball was found shattered on the ground then the homeowner can inspect the building for damage.

Antique lightning rod balls have become highly sought after by collectors. They were made in many shapes and colors.

Lightning rod balls such as the rare burgoon ball is prized by collectors.

Collectors love them for their history and unique colors and patterns. Some collect similar patterns, others similar colors. Whether you have one or twenty they always make for interesting conversation about where they came from.

History of the Lightning Rod Ball

Lightning Rod Ball Designs

Typically the lightning rod balls were made of ceramic or glass and were used as early as 1840. Their use declined during the Depression. Usually the balls are about 4 1/2 inches in diameter. Most of the balls were made from milk glass and were blue or white. Lightning rod balls often changed color after years of exposure to the sun so what was once a clear glass ball is now amethyst in color.

There are around 34 different styles and shapes. Some of them are smooth, while others have a quilted pattern or ribbed pattern on them. The shapes varied from round, oval, and doorknob shapes.

Does your home have a lightning rod? Have you come close to being struck by lightning? - Or just leave a note to say you stopped by

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    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      I had no idea people collected lightning rod balls. We had one on our house when I was a kid. Everything has value to someone. Very interesting idea for a lens.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      We don't have a lightning rod and have never been struck by lightning (sigh of relief). I never heard of lightning rod balls before. These are interesting and very pretty.

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      A house 100 metres away was hit. It blew off part of the roof and started a fire. Luckily nobody was hurt as the house was empty at the time.

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 5 years ago

      I've never heard of lightnin rod balls - what a unique thing to collect!

    • profile image

      Dianeyp LM 5 years ago

      No we don't have a lightening rod but I love those blue glass ones! Great lens