Biography

  • January 17th 1706 – April 17th 1790
  • Milk Street, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Attended Boston Latin School, finished school at 10 years old
  • Worked for brother James at New England Courant
  • Developed the persona “Mrs. Silence Dogood” in order to send letters to the newspaper
  • Writer, political theorist and artist, postmaster, scientist and an inventor
  • Inventions include: the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin Stove, urinary catheter, the odometer and the glass harmonica
  • He also discovered DST, learned about the early stages of electricity, created the first book lending library and the first fire department

Franklin as a Thinker

  • Always wanted to learn about how things work
  • Made a total of 8 voyages on the Atlantic Ocean
  • Studied how ships and ocean currents worked
  • Fascinated by meteorology
  • “It is the working man who is the happy man, it is the idle man who is the miserable man”
  • Shows that he loved gaining knowledge and loved learning about how things work

The Bifocals

  • Idea came to him while he was reading
  • Was not able to read with his far sighted glasses on
  • Created a new pair of glasses that allowed him to be both near and far sighted
  • Took lenses from both sets of glasses and put them together

Electricity and the Lightning Rod

  • People believed electricity was a form of fluid
  • Franklin wanted to prove it was a free form, almost gaseous substance that could get attracted to certain materials
  • 1750, tied a key to a kite string and flew it into a storm cloud
  • Collected sparks from the cloud proving that it is a free forming substance
  • From there he invented the lightning rod
  • Simply a tall metal pole that is placed on buildings so that lightning will strike the pole and not the building below

Glass Harmonica

  • Franklin was very musically inclined
  • Instrument where sound is made by rubbing fingers of the edges of bowls or glasses
  • Got the idea from seeing someone making music by rubbing wine glasses with different amounts of water in each one
  • Placed 37 different sizes of bowls in between each other
  • The rims were painted different colours to let the played know which bowls made which note
  • Many variations are still used and played today

The Franklin Stove

  • Winters were very harsh and cold
  • People made open fires in their homes for warmth
  • Franklin invented the Franklin Stove as a safer alternative to heating houses
  • He invented a cast iron open box with holes in the back so that smoke could go out the chimney
  • It allowed people to heat their home in a safer way and with less wood.

Franklin as a Writer

  • First book he wrote was “Poor Richards Almanac”
  • Yearly book containing things like weather forecasts, puzzles, calendars, and poems
  • Publishing went from 1732 – 1758
  • Later published “The Way to Wealth”
  • Contained parts from his almanacs and focused on the theme of ethics and frugality

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