Wild Weather Wednesday: Nineteenth Century Rainmaking (Part Two)

WildWeatherWednesdayFrank Melbourne, The Rain Wizard

Just because General Dyrenforth was on his way to being exposed as a fraud (see Part One of this series) didn’t stop others from trying, nor end the public’s fascination with so-called rainmakers.  Frank Melbourne immigrated to America and lived in Ohio before heading west to Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado in 1891, proclaiming himself as “The Rain Wizard”.

FrankMelbourneHe was born in Ireland in 1857 and educated in the public schools of his village.  Although he never attended college, he was considered a well-educated gentleman.  At the age of twenty-one he left Ireland to live on a ranch in Australia where the dry climate presented challenges.  Melbourne, determined to solve the problem with scarcity of rain, set about to find a way to produce rain artificially.  In 1887 he began experimentation and after three years and twelve successful attempts to produce rain in Australia, he went to New Zealand before making his way to Ohio where his brothers resided.1

This article has been enhanced, complete with sources, and published in the July 2018 issue of Digging History Magazine.  Preview the issue here or purchase here.

  1. Wichita Daily Eagle, 04 Oct 1891, p. 2


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