Benjamin Franklin, Portrait of a “real” American
by Diana Louise Boggs
“Necessity is the mother of invention.”
Perhaps Franklin’s most adequate quotation.
Benjamin Franklin is perhaps the greatest American ever and believed by some to be the greatest pivotal person, ever born. His stature, his intellect, his wisdom endeared him as the most intelligent man in the world during his times.
- Bifocals (1784) making all illustrations of Franklin during his politically most famous of times, not historically accurate if wearing bifocals.
- Franklin Stove, (1740) a design whose patent he declined because it was for the betterment of people’s living.
- Glass Armonica (1761)
- Odometer (1752)
- A long handled device (grasping hand at one end)for retrieving library books placed at a high level. (1785)
- Swim Fins (1717)
- Electric Battery
- Square Street Light Lamp
- Artificial Limbs
- Did not invent electricity,(1747 started writing about lightning being electricity) but proved that lightning “is” electricity. (1752)
- Developed the first US catheter. (1752)
- Suggested following the Chinese model of dividing ships' holds into watertight compartments so that if a leak occurred in one
compartment, the water would not spread throughout the hold and sink the ship.
- Established the first Fire Company (1736)
- Established the first Fire Insurance.
- Re-designed the Postal System, a system still used within his concept.
- Believed and practiced Daylight Savings time.
- First scientist to study and map the Gulfstream which figured out why it was so much quicker to get to England over coming from England to the US.
- Created the first circulating library. (1731)
- Created the first hospital
- Created the first college. (1743)
- Was the first US Postmaster
- Recorded debates of the Philadelphia Assembly
- Fought in the French and Indian War
- Assisted in constructing the Declaration of Independence, the first US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
- One of his last acts was to try to end slavery.
- Becomes from his first printing apprenticeship at the age of 12, one of the most notable publisher and writer of his times and believed by many to be one of the most notable publishers and writers of all time
- Pioneered the Silence Dogood Letters (1722)
- Wrote Poor Richard’s Almanac (1732)
- The US first unofficial “weatherman” who observed and wrote about weather occurrences, which included storms, lightning, eclipses, etc (1743)
- Affected agriculture by suggesting crop rotation and the use of fertilizer (1748)
- Promoted the sharing of agricultural knowledge and products between countries. Has been attributed with introducing Scotch kale, Swiss barley, Chinese rhubarb to the colonies from Europe. He introduced Timothy grass to England, along with Newtown Pippin apples. The French benefitted from his bringing a number of trees, nuts and shrubs to France from both the colonies and England.
- Penned letters, journals, essays, books, newspaper articles, ballads, almanacs and an autobiography.
Famous Quotations of Benjamin Franklin
“If you would not be forgotten. As soon as you are dead and rotten,
Either write things worthy of reading, Or do things worth the writing.”
"Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy."
"I think vital religion has always suffered when orthodoxy is more regarded than virtue. The scriptures assure me that at the last day we shall not be examined on what we thought but what we did." (letter to his father, 1738)
"I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character; like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy. The turkey is a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America." (letter to Sarah Bache)
"Like a man traveling in foggy weather, those at some distance before him on the road he sees wrapped up in the fog, as well as those behind him, and also the people in the fields on each side, but near him all appears clear, though in truth he is as much in the fog as any of them." (From his Autobiography, Chapter 8, written 1771-1790)
"You and I were long friends: you are now my enemy, and I am yours." (Letter to William Strahan, July 5, 1775)
"Never contradict anybody." (Benjamin Franklin to Thomas Jefferson)
"Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." (Excerpt from a letter to Jean Baptiste Le Roy; dated November 13, 1789)
"Remember, that time is money."(Advice to young tradesman, 1748.)
"The great secret of succeeding in conversation is to admire little, to hear much; always to distrust our own reason, and sometimes that of our friends; never to pretend to wit, but to make that of others appear as much as possibly we can; to hearken to what is said and to answer to the purpose." (taken from Franklin's Complete Works, Volume 1, "Miscellaneous Observations" (1728)
"We must indeed all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."(Franklin's reply in response to a John Hancock remark that the revolutionaries should be unanimous in their action; made at the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. )
"A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats."
"A little neglect may breed mischief, ...for want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost."
"A man may, if he knows not how to save as he gets, keep his nose to the grindstone."
"A penny saved is a penny earned."
"Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do."
"At twenty years of age, the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment."
"Diligence is the Mother of good luck."
"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of."
"Early morning hath gold in its mouth."
"Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."
"Energy and persistence conquer all things."
"Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other."
"Fish and visitors smell in three days."
"Genius without education is like silver in the mine."
"God helps them that help themselves."
"Haste makes waste."
"Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is."
"He that blows the coals in quarrels that he has nothing to do with, has no right to complain if the sparks fly in his face."
"He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing."
"He that lives upon hope will die fasting."
"He who multiplies riches multiplies cares."
"Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade."
"If Jack's in love, he's no judge of Jill's beauty."
"If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect."
"It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright."
"Kill no more pigeons than you can eat."
"Little strokes fell great oaks."
"Many have been ruined by buying good pennyworths."
"Necessity never made a good bargain."
"Never confuse motion with action."
"Never leave that till to-morrow which you can do to-day."
"Plough deep while sluggards sleep."
"Read much, but not many books."
"Some are weather-wise, some are otherwise."
"The sleeping fox catches no poultry."
"They that will not be counseled, cannot be helped. If you do not hear reason she will rap you on the knuckles."
"There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall than that of defrauding the government."
"Think of these things, whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account."
"Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead."
"Three removes are as bad as a fire. "
"To find out a girl's faults, praise her to her girl friends."
"To lengthen thy Life, lessen thy meals."
"Vessels large may venture more, But little boats should keep near shore."
"Well done is better than well said."
"Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame."
"Where sense is wanting, everything is wanting."
The Franklin Institute Online
The Franklin Institute Online
Public Broadcasting Online
Public Broadcasting Online
Library Thinkquest Online
Library Thinkquest Online
In conclusion, I leave you with a quote, not about Franklin, himself, but the culmination of lifelong ideals employed by one man, who chose to make a difference to himself, his country and his pride. DLB
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