The members were: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson,and George Ross.
Source: About the Signers.constitutionfacts.com.Retrieved from constitutionfacts.com
His last words were "A dying man can do nothing easily."
Source: 64 People and Their Famous Last Words. mentalfloss.com. Retrieved from mentalfloss.com/article/58534/64-people-and-their-famous-last-words
The first newspaper cartoon was “Join or Die”, which depicted a snake cut up into segments representing South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and New England. It was published by Benjamin Franklin in his Pennsylvania Gazette on May 9, 1754 and was quickly reprinted in almost every newspaper in America.
Source: Cartoons and Cartoonists. http://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org. Retrieved from philadelphiaencyclopedia.org
The Union Fire Company, thought to be the first volunteer fire company in the world, was founded in Philadelphia in 1736 in response to Ben Franklin's campaign in the Pennsylvania Gazette.
Source: In Case of Fire.ushistory.org. Retrieved from www.ushistory.org/franklin/philadelphia/fire.htm
The Library Company of Philadelphia is the first subscription, or social, library. It was founded in 1731 in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin and his friends.
Source: The Library Company. ushistory.org. Retrieved from www.ushistory.org/franklin/philadelphia/library.htm
In December of 1750 Benjamin Franklin gathered a group of friends to partake of a turkey dinner after witnessing his execution of a turkey by electricity. Although he had done this successfully in his backyard, on this occasion Franklin erred and absorbed the shock himself, while the turkey escaped. But his account of the experiment in his book, Experiments and Observations on Electricity, led other chefs to try the technique, making him the father of electric cooking.
Source: Benjamin Franklin Tries to Electrocute a Turkey. masshist.org. Retrieved from www.masshist.org
The Die Philadelphische Zeitung, a German newspaper and the first foreign language newspaper published in the U.S., was published by Benjamin Franklin on May 6, 1732.
Source: Chronicling America’s Historic German Newspapers. neh.gov. Retrieved from neh.gov
He was also a cartographer. In 1768 he and his cousin, Timothy Folger, a merchant marine captain, were the first to map the Gulf Stream. The stream's current slowed ships sailing west and Franklin's map enabled sailors to avoid the current and sail from Europe to America more quickly.
Source: This Old Map.citylab.com.Retrieved from citylab.com
If you visit Christ Church, you will find markers showing the pews where George Washington, Robert Morris, Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross once sat. The church is now a National Shrine.
Source: Overview.christchurchphila.org.Retrieved from christchurchphila.org
Benjamin Franklin's grave is in the Christ Church burial ground at 5th and Arch Streets. He was buried in April of 1790; the cemetery was bought by Christ Church in 1719. It is said to be lucky to toss a penny on his grave.
Source: History.christchurchphila.org.Retrieved from christchurchphila.org
No, but he belongs in spirit to all public libraries. Afforded only two years of formal schooling, the young Franklin took charge of his own extraordinary education, borrowing and buying books as he could. In 1731, he and a group of friends pooled their own books to found the Library Company of Philadelphia, which was supported by subscription fees paid by its members. That was the first public library in the American colonies, and it grew to serve the city and the emerging nation well for many decades. However, borrowing books from it was not free, and it was not related to the Free Library of Philadelphia, which was chartered much later, in 1891. Today Franklin's Library Company of Philadelphia survives on Locust Street as a scholarly research library rich in rare books and documents.
Source: the History of the Library company or Philadelphia.librarycompany.org.Retrieved from librarycompany.org
According to the Julian calendar then in use, Ben was born on January 6, 1705, but in 1752 Britain and its territories adopted the Gregorian calendar, ‘losing’ eleven days in the process, and moving New Year's Day from March 25 to January 1, so we celebrate his birthday on January the 17th of 1706.
Source: What's Benjamin Franklin's Birthday?.slate.com.Retrieved from slate.com
The Author of The Way to Wealth and countless aphorisms such as: A penny saved is a penny earned, would seem to be our greatest promoter of early American capitalism. Then why, in 1776, as president of the constitutional convention to create a new framework of government for Pennsylvania, did he try to enact a provision limiting the amount of wealth a citizen could accumulate? In fact, terms such as capitalism and socialism are more recent political ideas and don’t fit easily into Franklin’s 18th Century world. What Ben seemed to believe was that honest wealth acquired through honest labor was valid, but that great wealth, especially inherited wealth of the type accumulated by the Penn family, was corrupting of democratic principles. In any case, Ben’s provision was not considered.
Source: Srodes, James Franklin:The Essential Founding Father (2002) p.283
This has been a controversial issue for over a century, and several recent books purport to prove the claim that the kite experiment never took place. Here is what we know:
- That lightning could be safely drawn to earth by a metal rod had already been proven by Franklin and others in Europe by 1752. The identification of lightning with electricity, which Franklin had suggested in 1749, was in doubt. Several experiments attempting to link lightning with electricity had been performed in England and France prior to Ben’s experiment, but he had not received word of them.
- Franklin supposedly performed his famous experiment with kite and key in June 1752. He did not immediately record it, and when he later described the experiment he did not explicitly say that he performed it.
- The famous account of Franklin’s kite experiment in 1752 is from fellow scientist Joseph Priestley’s History of Electricity, published in 1767.
- Franklin’s European contemporaries, including his rivals, accorded Franklin the honor of first place in his discovery. The kite experiment became known as the Franklin or Philadelphia experiment, and for his efforts Franklin was awarded the prestigious Copley Medal by the Royal Society in 1753.
Source: Did Franklin Really fake the Kite experiment?.historynewsnetwork.org.Retrieved from historynewsnetwork.org/article/1770
- Franklin Stove (safer and more efficient than a fireplace)
- Bifocal glasses
- Flexible Catheter (for his brother who suffered from kidney stones)
- Lightning rod
- Electrical principles and devices
- Glass armonica (Mozart and Beethoven composed music for it)
- The location and calculation of the Gulf Stream (his measurements remain accurate)
- Improved streetlights (with four panes and open at top to let smoke out)
- Swimming paddles and flippers
- Library chair (when turned over it becomes a ladder)
- Odometer (to help set up efficient routes when he was Postmaster General)
- Extension Arm (for taking objects down from high shelves)
- Recommended addition of citrus fruits to the diet of sailors to prevent scurvy
Source: Inventions of Benjamin Franklin.inventionware.com.inventionware.com
- The Junto, a social and intellectual club (1727)
- The Library Company of Philadelphia (1731)
- Improved postal service when Franklin became postmaster of Philadelphia (1731) and deputy postmaster for the colonies (1753)
- The Union Fire Company (1736)
- The American Philosophical Society (1743)
- A Militia Regiment for defense of the western frontier (1748)
- The Pennsylvania Hospital (1751)
- The Philadelphia Academy and Charitable School (1751) later becoming the University of Pennsylvania
- The Philadelphia Contributionship, the first insurance company in the Colonies (1752)
But not the Free Library of Philadelphia (founded 1891)
Source: The electric ben Franklin.ushistory.org.ushistory.org
- Declaration of Independence (1776)
- Treaty of Alliance with France (1778)
- Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War (1783)
- Constitution of the United States (1787)
Source: Benjamin Franklin.history.com.history.com
During most of his life Franklin owned slaves and carried advertisements for the sale of slaves in his newspaper, but late in life he became an abolitionist. In 1787 he became President of the Pennsylvania society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, which not only advocated for the abolition of slavery but worked to integrate freed slaves into the community. In 1790, shortly before his death, Franklin submitted the Society's petition to abolish slavery to the first Congress of the United States.
Source: Benjamin Franklin Petitions congress.archives.gov.srchives.gov
- More than 350 titles by or about Ben Franklin
- Franklin's complete writings in several editions, including the 37 volumes of the monumental The Papers of Benjamin Franklin (Yale University Press)
- Access - electronic, or in print - to scores of scholarly journals concerning American history and culture during Franklin's era, and the recently acquired Archive of Americana, digitized reproductions of contemporary printed materials from every aspect of American life in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries
- In the Central Library's Rare Book Department, many books from Franklin's own press - as well as a collection of Robert Lawson's drawings for Ben and Me
- In Central's Print and Picture Collection, hundreds of portraits of Franklin and illustrations of his era
- In Central's Children's Department, more than 25 titles about Franklin, as well as many books of non-fiction or historical fiction set during Franklin's time; and, in the Children's Literature Research Collection, non-circulating books on similar subjects dating from the mid-19th to the 21st century
- Other items of interest from the 18th century, including maps, city directories, and local government documents