You Are At: AllSands Home > History > Objects > Benjamin Franklin inventions
Benjamin Franklin was the first and only in many rights. The Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Paris, and the American Constitution all bear his signature. An honor that no other man can boast of. He was the first famous American author. He owned his own printing company and soon had enough money to retire. Retire, however, he did not. He went on to become a successful public servant, scientist, and inventor.

Born on January 17, 1706 to Josiah Franklin, Ben was intended for a life in the ministry. Benjamin, however, had other ideas. At an early age he showed an interest in writing, and at the age of twelve became an apprentice to his brother. In 1723, after a falling out with his brother, Franklin left for Philadelphia where he would eventually begin his own printing business.

Benjamin Franklin did more than printing. He was involved in public affairs. He began the first city hospital in 1751 and served as the postmaster of Philadelphia from 1737 to 1753. He was the Clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly and then went on to become a member of the Assembly. As if this were not enough, he also pursued scientific interests.

The study of electricity was of great interest to Franklin. Although at times, he was unsure of the benefit of this phenomenon to mankind. One Christmas he decided to kill a turkey, a bird he felt worthy to be the national symbol, with electric current. Instead of frying the turkey, he shocked himself. This incident did not deter him from flying a kite in the middle of a thunderstorm with a key attached. He did not know how dangerous this was. This witty experiment led to the invention of the lightning rod in 1752.

Other contributions Franklin made include the Franklin Stove, the first efficient heating source. It was made from cast iron which allowed its heat to radiate from all sides. When Mr. Franklin's eyesight began to wane, he invented the first pair of bifocal glasses. He also collected weather data and published the Poor Richard's Almanac.

It would take most people many lifetimes to accomplish as much as Benjamin Franklin did. His expertise ranged from science to politics. He was contributing to the United States of America even before the United States was born. His accomplishments, if not remembered by this generation, are certainly still in use by many people today.