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Ben Franklin
 
Ben Franklin
Ben Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1706. He had eleven older brothers and sisters. When he was only 12 years old, he went to work for his older brother. He learned how to print books and newspapers while working with his brother.
 
When he was only 17 years old, he started his own printing shop. He printed a newspaper in his shop. He wrote some articles for the newspaper. He also wrote an almanac. Which is a book of charts, graphs and other information.
 
The most famous book Ben Franklin wrote was the story of his life. He told about the things he did to become a better person. He listed his goals and plans to reach his goals.
 
Ben Franklin invented many things we use every day. Below are a few of his inventions.
 
Bifocals
Ben Franklin invented bifocals in 1784. Bifocals are glasses with an upper and lower half. The upper half is for distance and the lower half is for reading. Ben Franklin invented these glasses because he suffered from a condition known as presbyopia. These glasses are worn by people who need to see both far away distances and up close objects.
bifocals
 
Swim Fins
Ben Franklin loved to swim. When he was only 11 or 12 years old, he invented swim fins in 1717. His swim fins were different than the swim flippers we use today. His swim fins were attached to your hands instead of your feet. They were made to help people swim faster.
swim pads
 
Franklin Stove
During Franklin's time, most homes were warmed by a fireplace. The fireplaces didn't produce much heat and made a lot of smoke. Most of the heat went out the chimney. Ben invented the Franklin Stove in 1742. It was a fireplace that stood in the middle of the room. It was used because it provided more heat and less smoke than an open fireplace and used less wood. stove
 
Odometer
Ben Franklin traveled a lot when he was a postmaster. He rode in his carriage between Philadelphia and Boston quite often. He was curious as to how far he was traveling. So, he created his own version of the odometer in 1745. The odometer was attached near the wheels of the carriage. Franklin used it to measure the wheel and to determine how many times the wheel turned to make a distance of one mile. After his rides, he would look at the odometer to see how many times the wheel turned and calculate that to see how many miles he traveled. The odometer was used to measure how far Ben Franklin traveled. odometer
 
Glass Armonica
As entertainment, it was popular in England to run a finger over different glasses containing different amounts of liquid to make music. The tones would be different with different amounts of liquid in the glass. In 1761, Franklin created a machine called the Glass Armonica that would play music using different size glasses. The machine had 37 glass bowls. The person playing it would wet their finger and run it over the different bowls to make music. The bowl rims were color coded according to the note. So, an A note was red, B note green, C note blue and so on. Franklin worked with a London glass blower, named Charles James to build his armonica. The glass armonica was a way to make music.
armonica
 
Lightening Rod
Ben Franklin was fascinated by science and electricity. He wanted to prove that lightening was a form of electricity. He also wanted to protect people, buildings and houses from lightening. In the 1750's he decided to do an experiment with lightening. In 1752, he decided to fly a kite during a storm. He thought the kite would be able to get up high enough to reach the storm clouds. He decided to put a metal key on the kite so that it would attract an electrical charge. When the key received an electrical charge from the air, Franklin knew that lightening was a form of electricity. kite
 
Franklin created a lightening rod in 1752 to protect houses and buildings. A lightening rod is a rod attached to the top of a building, connected to the ground through a wire. The electric charge from lightning strikes the rod and the charge is conducted harmlessly into the ground. This protects houses from burning down and people from electrocution.
rod
 
Last Modified on October 28, 2013