Georg Matthias Bose’s favourite party trick was to persuade a lady to stand on an insulated stool while a hidden operator charged her body with electricity.
An unsuspecting gentleman would then be invited to kiss the lady – and sparks would quite literally fly.
Photograph: Public domain
Bose’s “Electric Kiss” (also called “Electric Venus”) demonstration was immensely popular with spectators, and it was little more than a variation on Stephen Gray‘s “Flying Boy” demonstration.
An attractive young lady was invited to stand on a block of insulating resin, and she was given a moderate static charge from a spinning globe.
A young man from the audience was then invited to give her a kiss, and, in the process, the pair received a reasonable shock.
This demonstration combined both the scientific illustration of charge accumulation with the naughtiness of a stolen kiss, so it became a mainstay of all electrical showmen and scientific demonstrators.