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Benjamin Franklin - Inventor

Benjamin Franklin - InventorAt the age of forty-two, I retired from printing to explore my other interests. I devoted this time to inventing. During my life, I invented many things, including:

Swim fins, bifocals, a glass armonica, watertight bulkheads for ships, the lightning rod, an odometer, and the wood stove (called the Franklin stove).

In addition to inventing, I enjoyed experimenting. One thing that always fascinated me was electricity. so, one stormy night my son, William, and I were experimenting with lightning. You see, during my time, people thought that lightning was a mysterious force that was a punishment from God; however, I wanted to prove that lightning is a form of electricity.

I attached a pointed metal piece on the top of my kite and a metal key to the base of the string. Lightning struck the kite and traveled down the kite string to the key. When I touched the key with my knuckle, there was a spark! It's a good thing I didn't electrocute myself (although I was knocked unconscious twice before when experimenting with electricity, so don't try this at home!), but I did prove that lightning is electricity! Afterwards, I invented the lightning rod to protect buildings and ships from lightning damage.

Although I received much recognition from my inventions, I did not profit from them. Instead, I chose to give my inventions to the world freely.

To learn more, choose from the following:

A service of the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office.

Last updated: February 5, 2007 12:57
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