Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790) was an American statesman and founding father, possibly better known for his political support in shaping the new country than for his significant contributions to science and innovation.
Benjamin Franklin was the first secretary of the American Philosophical Society.
Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, the son of Josiah Franklin and Abiah Folger Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin’s father, Josiah Franklin, had 17 children with 2 wives and Benjamin Franklin was the 8th to the second wife but the 15th in total.
Franklin only attended school through age ten due to his family’s financial status, but he continued on self-educated through his insatiable appetite for learning.
Benjamin Franklin wrote a scientific essay about farts namely “Fart Proudly”.
After working for his father, he was apprenticed to his brother, James, a printer.
Benjamin Franklin tried to eliminate slavery in 1790.
While Benjamin was an apprentice, James founded the first independent newspaper in the US colonies, imparting in Benjamin the importance of having unrestricted access to truthful news.
Benjamin Franklin spent up to an hour writing or reading completely naked in his house.
Franklin was not allowed to publish a letter he’d written to the paper, so published the letter under the pseudonym “Mrs. Silence Dogood.” The letter and those that followed it were very popular with readers.
Benjamin Franklin invented the bifocals eyeglasses in 1784.
Franklin ran away from his apprenticeship without permission and became a fugitive, fleeing to Philadelphia where he worked for several printers before taking a position in London with a printer.
Benjamin Franklin also invented the Harmonica and in Europe, it became so popular that Mozart & Beethoven composed music with it.
He returned to the US and to Philadelphia as the clerk and bookkeeper for an area merchant, then founded a discussion group of artisans called Junto.
Benjamin Franklin also invented a pair of swim fins at the age of 11.
Franklin invented the first-ever subscription-based library through contributions of the Junto members, and the Library Company of Philadelphia was formed in 1731.
In 1999, Benjamin Franklin was inducted into the Chess Hall of Fame of the U.S.
The library still exists today and now holds more than 500,000 rare books and writings, more than 160,000 early manuscripts, and other important documents.
Benjamin Franklin completed honorary degrees from Yale and Harvard Universities.
Franklin went on to found The Pennsylvania Gazette and the first US-based German-language newspaper, Die Philadelphische Zeitung, and even after he became a world-renowned statesman and inventor, he continued to sign his name as “B. Franklin, Printer.”
In 1753, Benjamin Franklin received the Royal Society’s Copley Medal for his work with electricity.
Aside from Franklin’s important work in printing and securing freedom of the press, he was a noted inventor whose scientific discoveries were tremendously important.
Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography started in 1771 but was only published after his death.
He is known for inventing the lightning rod, the bifocals, and a flexible urinary catheter, among several other useful and life-changing inventions.
Benjamin Franklin was the richest person in the United States in 1785.
Perhaps his greatest invention was a social innovation, the concept of paying it forward through good works for others as a means of repaying the good that was done to the individual.
Benjamin Franklin spoke 5 languages: English, French, Latin, Italian and Spanish.
Franklin is remembered for the creation of the Poor Richard Almanac.
At the age of 22, he was the owner of the Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper.