1. Benjamin Franklin is a hero of American History. During his more than 80 years of life, this intelligent man-made such a difference in the lives of not only the American colonists who lived at the end of the 1700s but in our lives today. He was a writer, a scientist, a leader, an inventor, and used his talents to create new products that we still use. Not only was Benjamin Franklin an important part of the American Revolution, but he also contributed a vast amount of inventions that helped the American colonists during the 1700s.
2. Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston on January 17, 1706. He was the tenth son of a soap maker named Josiah Franklin.
3. Benjamin’s mother was Abigail Folgers, the second wife of Josiah. In all, Josiah would have 17 children! That meant Benjamin had 16 siblings. Josiah wanted Benjamin to join the clergy. However, Josiah could only afford to send his son to school for one year, and clergymen needed years of education. But, as a young boy, Benjamin loved to read, and his father had him apprenticed by his brother James, who was a printer. After helping James compose pamphlets, 12 year old Benjamin would sell their products in the streets.
4. When Benjamin was 15, his brother started The New England Courant, the first newspaper in Boston. The paper contained articles, opinion pieces written by James’s friends, advertisements, and ship schedules. As he became a little older, Benjamin Franklin was concerned with getting information out to the public. In 1732, he created Poor Richard’s Almanac, which was published annually to give people information on various subjects as well as advice. One of the pieces of advice was “there are no gains without pains,” which meant people don’t gain anything unless they put forth the effort. (Does that remind you of our modern saying, “No pain, no gain?”)
5. Ben Franklin had poor vision and needed glasses to see objects that were close as well as objects that were far away. Rather than continue to take on and off his two pairs of glasses, he thought of a way to create one pair that did both jobs. He created what we know today as bifocals, which help people to see objects close and far away, through the same lens.
6. Another one of Benjamin Franklin’s inventions was the Franklin stove. During colonial times, colonists would build fires in their homes to help keep their families warm from the vicious winters. Since this method proved to be dangerous, Benjamin Franklin invented a stove that would heat entire homes without the risk of causing fires. He also started the first fire department so the citizens in Philadelphia could feel safe and protected.
7. As a postman, Ben Franklin wanted to figure out how many miles he rode on his routes. As a result, he invented a simple odometer and put it on his carriage.
8. Benjamin Franklin had a great influence on society as we know it today. Thanks to this brilliant man, we have so many more opportunities in our lives. He is not only remembered as a leader in the fight for the independence of the United States, but as an outstanding inventor of many useful creations.