Updated May 30, 2023
About Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was an American founding father and polymath who was a significant figure in the American Enlightenment. He was an American statesman, author, publisher, scientist, inventor, and diplomat. Franklin was a leading writer, publisher, and political activist in colonial America and was widely known for his experiments in electricity. He also helped to draft the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. His influence and legacy have been felt throughout history and continue to shape American culture and politics today.
Early Life of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin was the 15th child of the family and was born in 1706 in Boston. At the age of 10, he finished his formal education. His father had intended for Benjamin to become a clergyman, so he was apprenticed to his brother James, a printer and publisher. Benjamin learned the printing trade and learned much from the books and newspapers he encountered as a printer’s apprentice.
At age 17, Benjamin moved to Philadelphia to start his printing business. He was a successful publisher and printer, producing works such as Poor Richard’s Almanack and The Pennsylvania Gazette. In 1730, Franklin founded the first public library in America. He also established the American Philosophical Society, which promoted scientific research.
1. Bifocals: Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals in 1784. The lenses of bifocals divide into the upper and lower halves, providing two distinct optical powers.
2. The Franklin Stove: Benjamin Franklin invented the Franklin Stove in 1742. It was a cast-iron stove that was more efficient than traditional open fireplaces.
3. The Catheter: In 1752, Benjamin Franklin invented the catheter, a thin tube inserted into the human body to drain fluids or administer medication.
4. The Odometer: Benjamin Franklin invented the odometer in 1763. This invention could measure the distance traveled by any vehicle.
5. The Lightning Rod: Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod in 1752. They place a metal rod at the top of a building to protect it from lightning strikes.
6. The Glass Armonica: Benjamin Franklin invented the glass armonica in 1761. It is a musical instrument consisting of a series of glass bowls mounted on a spindle that rotates by a foot treadle.
7. The Flexible Urinary Catheter: Benjamin Franklin invented the flexible urinary catheter in 1752. It is a device to drain urine from the bladder.
1. Played a critical role in the American Revolution: Benjamin Franklin was a significant figure and leader during the American Revolution. He was a key diplomat and negotiator, helping to secure the alliance with France and playing a pivotal role in the peace treaty with Great Britain that ended the war.
2. Signer of the Declaration of Independence: Franklin was one of the five men who drafted the Declaration of Independence and was the oldest signer of the document.
3. Established the first U.S. lending library: Franklin founded the first U.S. lending library in Philadelphia in 1731.
4. Established the first fire department in America: Franklin established the first fire department in America in 1736 in Philadelphia.
5. Established the University of Pennsylvania: Franklin founded the University of Pennsylvania in 1749.
6. Franklin looked into electrotherapy: His work led to the popularization of this field.
7. Established the first public hospital in America: Franklin founded the first public hospital in America in 1751 in Philadelphia.
Benjamin Franklin spent the last years of his life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During this time, he was well known for his involvement in various civic and political activities. Franklin grew obese in his later years. He faced a lot of health problems as a consequence of obesity. Because of his poor health, his public appearances were limited.
Franklin was also responsible for establishing the University of Pennsylvania, the first medical school in America and the first public library in the nation. He advocated for the abolition of slavery and was instrumental in negotiating the Treaty of Paris in 1783, officially ending the Revolutionary War.
Franklin was an avid scientist and inventor. He conducted several experiments with electricity, including the famous kite experiment, which established the existence of electricity and lightning. He left behind a legacy of civic and scientific accomplishments that we remember. A genius in so many different fields of human endeavor, Benjamin Franklin’s achievements still serve as inspiration.
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