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Benjamin Franklin is a name that certainly most of us are familiar with.
He was involved with the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. Although he had helped in writing the Declaration of Independence, and many people believed so, Benjamin Franklin never got to be a president of the country.
The first president of the United States of America was George Washington who took post on April 30, 1784. Franklin is also known for his discovery and invention endeavors, someone who has been identified as a mentor and inspiration for him is Archibald Spencer. Spencer was a businessman, clergyman, doctor, scientist amongst other things during those times, has had a huge influence on Benjamin Franklin's career.
Josiah Franklin, Ben's father wanted him to become a clergyman. The only problem was that he could only afford the school for one year, and to become a clergyman it is necessary to have an education for some years. After this, his parents sent him to Boston Latin where he was for two years before dropping out at the age of 10. At the age of 12, Franklin began learning with his brother James Franklin the art of being a printer.
Even though he became excellent at what we did, Ben Franklin had very little formal education. He went to George Brownell's English School, where he studied writing and arithmetic. In the year 1753, the second continental congress named Benjamin Franklin as the deputy postmaster general of British North America. Benjamin Franklin was inclined towards music and perfected the functioning of the glass harmonica.
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Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston, Massachusetts, and he was an American printer and publisher, author, inventor and scientist, and diplomat. Sometimes he used the name Richard Saunders as his pseudonym.
He also represented the United States in France during the American Revolution. He came from a family of soap makers and he was the 10th of 17 children in the house. During 1718-1723, he had become a master of the printer's trade. While at the same time reading whatever he could and teaching himself how to write.
He immediately realized that anyone with the skill to write effectively in the 18th century could become a notable person. By 1721 James Franklin created a weekly newspaper, named 'New England Courant', which was open for contributions from readers. Ben Franklin when 17, had moved to New York and failed to succeed. So he decided to move again to Philadelphia, which was known for being more open religiously than Boston. By the time Franklin arrived there, he was tired and hungry, as mentioned in his autobiography.
It was also in this place that he met his future wife, Deborah Read with whom he raised his son William Franklin that became a governor of New Jersey. After a couple of weeks, he found a job as a printer. Around 1724, he returned to Boston to raise money for his new business venture at the suggestion of Sir William Keith. Keith even offered to pay his passage to Great Britain. But when he was already mid-sea he realized that Governor Keith had not fulfilled all of his promises.
In London, he quickly found a job again and became friends with Ralph. They were then enjoying all the pleasures that the city had to offer. Once there he had even forgotten to write to his love, Deborah. Franklin remained in London for some years but in 1726 he was already tired of it. And at the same he was offered a clerkship in a Philadelphia store, so he went back. While he was back he had duties in the First Continental Congress and the Second Continental Congress.
The reception in America wasn't quite welcoming due to his love for France and the way he lived there. Because of this, life was made hard for him back home. He even tried writing to congress in 1788 mentioning what he has done for the USA, but Congress didn't bother to even respond. In 1790, he wrote again to Congress in a petition to abolish slavery. This led to outrage by some congressmen who were pro-slavery, in response to this he wrote a mock in a newspaper article that was released just a month before Benjamin Franklin died.
Benjamin Franklin is also known for his invention that changed and is used all around today. Many of these inventions were quite brilliant for someone in the 18th century to think about them, but they were also something very much needed in those days.
Urinary catheter: Not being his most fancy work, it was still a relief for many Americans with bladder problems in those days. With his brother in the hospital, needing to use one of these which were at the time made of metal, Benjamin Franklin wanted to make these less painful, so, Franklin went to the nearest silversmith to make a more flexible one.
American celebrity: Franklin's honor gained him a huge reputation in Europe, where people worshipped him with images of him printed for stickers and more, this is the status of a celebrity. So Benjamin Franklin is considered to be the first American celebrity.
Swim fins: Franklin had been a swimmer since his childhood. And being someone who liked inventing his first invention was the swim fins. Young Franklin used them to swim faster, although he stopped using them because it made his wrists exhausted. He also made some swim fins for the feet by attaching some boards on his own, although he also quit them because he felt that they looked awkward. In American colonies, swimming was the practice of shipwrecked sailors.
The odometer: During the 1760s, Franklin was approached by the British government in an attempt to upgrade the colonies' postal system. Being someone who enjoyed writing letters, he took on the task as soon as he was approached, he was then set to speed up the postal system.
Franklin’s odometer was not the first as ancient Rome also showed some trace of using one. It also was not the last as many inventors kept working on different versions of odometers throughout the decades. But Franklin’s odometer proved to be the most efficient one over time.
American political cartooning: In 1752, the American colonies were in constant threat of a war with the French. Franklin came up with a drawing of a snake cut into eight pieces. 'Join, or die' is credited as America's first political cartoon.
Glass armonica: After watching a few shows from piano glass players, Benjamin Franklin noticed that it took so much time to set this up, so he wanted to find a way to do it in a more convenient form. After two years, Benjamin Franklin presented his new invention, the glass armonica.
Reaching device (the long arm): Franklin liked books so much that his house was filled with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. So to reach his books while not needing a ladder, Franklin invented a reaching device, an extension arm.
The Franklin stove: Fireplaces were not very efficient and consumed too much fuel. So Franklin thought of designing a stove that would radiate heat from all sides, and how much wood it consumed would be controlled by the user.
Bifocal eyeglasses: As Benjamin Franklin got older he became both near-sighted and far-sighted. When he was outdoors he would need a set of lenses to see long-distance places, while needing different lenses to see a short distance. To resolve this problme Benjamin Franklin invented double spectacles, now known as bifocals.
The lightning rod: Lightning was scary to many people in the 18th century. Churches that had tall structures, feared them the most because simple electrical storms could cause damage in entire structures since they were wooden buildings. So Franklin figured out that a metal rod if placed at the top of a building while wired to the ground with a cable, would stop the fire before it could do any damage.
Franklin was a pivotal figure in American history. Being the most influential founding father, the eldest, and the one who had made the greatest contribution to the cause of freedom.
He returned to Philadelphia in the year 1726 with help from his employer in London, Thomas Denham. It is known that Franklin was the one to sign the Treaty of Alliance in France, persuading the French government to stand behind America in the face of the formidable British Empire. He also negotiated loans and commercial deals with European nations.
Known to be the only founding father who signed the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Declaration of Independence, as well as the Treaty of Paris, which eventually led to the country's independence. He was also a signer of the US Constitution.
Benjamin Franklin was involved in numerous charitable initiatives. He raised funds for the construction of a city hospital, organized the Pennsylvania militia, and also led a program for the installation of city lights and paving roads. Some of the most important activities for which Ben Franklin was famous for are:
The only president who was never president: Many people assume that Benjamin Franklin was the first president of The United States of America and that is a mistake. He never took the office post as others did such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. He was indeed the governor of Pennsylvania, an ambassador to the United States, France, and Sweden, and the first-ever United States Postmaster General.
American Declaration of Independence: He helped in writing the American Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. One of the writers of the American Declaration of Independence was probably his most significant achievement. In 1776, he was selected to the Committee of Five, which would later prepare the Declaration of Independence. Franklin, who was at an advanced age during that time and crippled by gout, could not attend most of the committee sessions, so he made a few 'little but significant' revisions to the document handed to him by Thomas Jefferson.
Tea time: Although he was a fan of tea, he was against many of the extreme measures which were taken by the Boston Tea Party. In his time in London, he wrote letters to its members, including Samuel Adams and John Hancock, in which he wrote about he felt about it all.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Benjamin Franklin facts then why not take a look at what color is Neptune, or what color is Uranus which you will surely enjoy!
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