The lightning conductor is a thick copper wire or a strip that is secured onto the tallest point of a building to a long copper earth pole that is hammered deep into the ground at the side of the building. It protects buildings from lightning strokes by providing an easier path for the current to flow to earth rather through the building. In the event of a direct lightning strike, the current in the conductor may be so great that it melts or vaporizes the metal, but the damage to the building will be limited.
Lightning on its way to earth tries to find the best conductor and consequently will leap from side to side finding a tree or a building. It is drawn to pointy things than to round or blunt things, and for this reason, lightning rods are made with sharp points. When a cloud filled with electricity passes over the rods, the electricity will flow down them until the cloud is fully discharged. During this process, no flash, or no sound of thunder is heard. To prevent rusting, the tops of the lightning rods are coated with silver.The lower end of the rod must be carried down into the damp earth; if the earth is dry it is better to carry the end into a well, because dry earth is not a good conductor and the captured lightning might leap from the rod at the lower end and go into the cellar of the building. High chimneys should have rods on them because soot is a good conductor, as is the vapour that arises when the fire burns.