Benjamin Franklin, born January 17, 1706 and died April 17, 1790) was a
world -renowned polymath. Franklin was a leading author, printer, politicial theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.
He was one of the first people to study electricity in detail. In 1752, he flew a kite fitted with a metal key into a thundercloud. Sparks flew off the key, showing that lightening was a form of electricity. Franklin said that electricity consisted of two states of a mysterious fluid, an idea which is no longer believed.
Franklin as an inventorEdit
Franklin was a prodigious inventor. Among his many creations were the lightning rod, glass armonica, Franklin Stove, bifocal glasses and the flexible urinary catheter. Franklin never patented his inventions; in his autobiography he wrote, "... as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously."
His inventions also included social innovations. Franklin's fascination with innovation could be viewed as altruistic; he wrote that his scientific works were to be used for increasing efficiency and human improvement. One such improvement was his effort to expedite news services through his printing presses