Portrait Of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin is best known for flying a kite during an electrical storm, but also was a man that did so much more.

Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, and died in 1790. He was the youngest of the seventeen children in his family, and lived in Boston, Massachusetts. During his long life, Franklin was actually a scientist, an inventor, an economist, and a statesman, as well as a musician, a public servant, and an entrepreneur.

Interestingly enough, Benjamin Franklin had only completed two full years of schooling before he started working with his father when he was just ten years old. But Benjamin was self-driven, and read voraciously. By doing this, and studying everything around him, he managed to educate himself throughout his life. He taught himself some foreign languages, which included French, Italian, and Spanish. Franklin believed in hard work, frugality, and self-excellence. The combinations of these philosophies brought him much fame, fortune, honor, and respect throughout his lifetime.

His father was a tallow chandler and soap boiler, and Franklin assisted him until 1718, when, at twelve years of age, he became an apprentice to his brother James, who was a printer. Franklin learned the trade quickly, and by the time he was seventeen, he was a fully skilled printer.

In 1723, Benjamin Franklin left his hometown and traveled to Philadelphia to work for a printer, Sam Keimer. The next year, Franklin went to London and continued to learn the printing business. He returned to Philadelphia in 1728, and opened his own printing office. He started out printing a newspaper called "The Pennsylvania Gazette," and then later started printing a yearly magazine called "Poor Richard's Almanac" using the pen name, Richard Saunders. Benjamin Franklin was just twenty-two years old when he started his own printing shop, and he continued to run it for the next twenty-five years. Every almanac edition contained weather forecasts as well as other beneficial information for farmers. It also included witty sayings such as the ever-popular, "Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." The almanac is still being printed every year.

In the mean time, Franklin started the first American library to lend books in 1731. He was an avid reader himself, and wanted to encourage people to read without having the expense of having to buy the printed books.

In 1736, Benjamin Franklin was appointed the clerk for the Pennsylvania Assembly. He also became the deputy postmaster for the city the next year, and continued performing those duties until 1953. At that time, he became a deputy postmaster for the colonies for another twenty-one years. Within that time, Franklin used his ingenuity to improve the efficiency of the post office.



In between those years, in the early 1740's, Benjamin Franklin invented an iron stove that he simply called, the "Franklin Stove." His stove was enclosed, and was far less dangerous than using a fireplace to heat a house. It was also more fuel-efficient. Franklin also used his ingenuity to invent some other useful items that are still in use today. Most notably, his inventions included the lightning rod and bifocals. The lightning rod was invented in 1752, after he had concluded his well-known kite experiment. Franklin invented bifocals in 1760 as a result of his own farsightedness. He had to use reading glasses to see close up, but could see clearly far away. He got tired of taking his glasses off and on all the time, so he invented a way he could see both near and far while his glasses were still on his face. To accomplish this, Franklin had two glass lenses cut in half. He then put half of each lens into a single frame. That way, he could look down and read through the lens, or, he could look over the lens and see things that were far off.

Franklin's talents also included playing the violin, the harp, and the guitar. He even made his own glass ammoniac.

Benjamin Franklin was deeply interested in furthering the betterment of mankind, and his actions showed this. In 1751, he founded an academy that would later evolve into the University of Pennsylvania. He also established the first fire department in 1752, and started the first fire insurance company. Franklin also started the first police force.

In 1757, he became a statesman, until 1762, but he held the position again from 1764 to 1775, respectively. He was successful in this job because he always paid attention to the interests and the needs of the colonies. In 1775, Franklin joined the Second Continental Congress. The following year, Congress sent him to France in order to obtain the aid of the French for the Revolutionary War. In the same year, Franklin also helped to write "The Declaration of Independence". This was just one of the four historic documents that helped to form the basis of the United States, and Franklin had the honor of being the only person to sign every one of them. The other documents were the Treaty of Alliance, Amity, and Commerce with France, signed in 1778, the Treaty of Peace between England, France, and the United States, signed in 1782, and the Constitution, signed in 1787.

Finally, in the year of 1785, Benjamin Franklin returned to his homeland. He was seventy-nine years old; it was time for the great man to slow down. His last years were spent writing. He wrote his autobiography for his son, William Franklin, it was published after his death in 1790.

In conclusion, the name of Benjamin Franklin will live on forever in the annals of United States history. Franklin simply effortlessly gave of himself. He improved the world anyway he could. He used his self-taught mental intelligence to explore the world and to develop possible answers for problems that had long plagued mankind.

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