Happy Birthday, Ben Franklin!

Ben Franklin was born on this day in 1706.

He began his incredible journey as a newspaper apprentice.  He quickly learned that he did not want to set the print for others to write, he wanted to write himself.  Which he did much to the anger of his brother, the newspaper’s editor.

Because he did not get along with his brother, Franklin became a newspaper printer, shop owner, and bookstore owner in Philadelphia.

While running the Pennsylvania Gazette, Franklin not only printed the paper, he also wrote articles under an assumed name and created political cartoons.  He also published Poor Richard’s Almanack. Almanacs, printed only once a year, include weather reports, recipes, famous phrases, and predictions.

Ben Franklin was so much more than a writer. He helped pave, clean and light Philadelphia’s streets. He started the nation’s first subscription library. He helped launch the American Philosophical Society and the Pennsylvania Hospital, both are still in existence today.

He also organized Philadelphia’s first fire-fighting company and the Philadelphia Contribution for Insurance Against Loss by Fire for those who lost their homes to fire.

When he retired from the printing business, he started concentrating on science, experiments, and inventions. He invented the  Franklin stove, swim fins, the glass armonica, which is a musical instrument, and bifocals.

What is a glass armonica? Watch the video to find out!

Ben Franklin was probably best known as a politician.  He was elected to the Second Continental Congress and helped write the Declaration of Independence. Franklin signed the Declaration and became the United States ambassador to France. Later he became President of the Executive Council of Pennsylvania, he served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and signed the Constitution. Before he died he wrote an anti-slavery paper urging Americans to rid themselves of slavery.

Franklin died on April 17, 1790, at the age of 84.

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