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
READ
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America

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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