Larry Arriaga


1-50.jpgSince the beginning of time we have invented and created many things some are useful and others not so much. Out of all the people who have invented and discovered things Benjamin Franklin is by far the most interesting and well known inventor in history. Benjamin Franklin made mistakes and failed, but he learned from those failures and became known as a great inventor. “Do not fear mistakes, you will know failure, continue to reach out,” he said. These are all of the things that Benjamin Franklin accomplished in his life time.


Personal Background

“Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706 in Boston Massachusetts” (Bellis). He had accomplishments as a scientist, publisher, and statesman. In order to know how he made those accomplishments it all had to start where he was born and how he was raised. “Ben Franklin was the 10th child of Joshia Franklin and his second wife Abiah Fogler” (Stanton). He had a total of 16 siblings half of which he will be half related to from his fathers’ first marriage. Benjamin Franklins’ dad could only afford to send him to school for one year since he had so many kids to take care of.

“When Benjamin Franklin was 15 his brother started ‘The New England Courant’ the first newspaper in Boston” (Heller). He wanted to write for the paper but he knew that his brother would never let him.
Ben Franklin came up with an idea of writing letters and signing them as a fictional widow Silence Dogood. “At night he would slip the letters under the print shop door so no one would know who the widow was and they were a big hit and everyone wanted to know who was Silence Dogood”(Heller). “After 16 letters Ben confessed that it was him writing the letters and his brother scolded him and was very jealous of all the attention paid to him” (Heller). When his brother James was thrown in jail for not taking the smallpox disease seriously while his brother Ben did he took over the newspaper. “Upon release from jail, James was not grateful to Ben for keeping the paper going. Instead he kept harassing his younger brother and administering beatings from time to time” (Heller). Ben couldn’t take it anymore and ran away in 1723.

Benjamin Franklin ran away to New York in a boat where he hoped to find a job as a printer, but he didn’t find one. He went to Philadelphia on a bout and with the last of his money he bought some new rolls. Their he found a job as an apprentice printer and borrowed money to set up his own print shop.” In 1728, Benjamin fathered a child named William, but the mother of William is unknown” (Heller). Two years later Ben married Deborah Read the first woman he met when he first arrived in Philadelphia. In addition to running a print shop he and his wife also ran their own store selling everything from soap to fabric and also a book store.

In 1743 Ben had invented a heat efficient stove that he called the “Franklin stove”. In 1749 he retired from business and started concentrating on science, experiments, and inventions. Out of all of his invention he was probably most know for discovering electricity. Around the early 1750’s he did an experiment that involved a kite to verify the nature of lightning. After accomplishing so many great things he became bedridden in the last year of his life and died in April 17, 1790 at the age of 84. “At his funeral more than 20,000 people attended and called him ‘the harmonious human multitude’ ”(Heller).


Personality Traits


Benjamin Franklin had many traits some were good and others were bad. First he was always a kind man who cared about people. Even though he became known all over the United States it didn’t change him 4of5.JPGone bit he still treated people the same. In the 1730s while his success was increasing he got involved in real estate and business. There were many things that he had organized to help people he “organized the Union Fire Company to counteract dangerous fire hazards and established a lending library so others could share his passion for reading” (Grimm). The reason that he organized the Union Fire Company was because every time there was a lightning storm it would strike houses and catch them on fire. That’s why he created the Union Fire so they could put out the fire as fast as they can since Ben cared a lot about the people who lived in his community.

He was also a good father and husband to his three kids William, Sarah, Francis, and his wife Deborah Read. “Their first son, Francis, was born in 1732 although he died four years later of smallpox” (Grimm). When he died both Ben and Deborah were completely devastated. After seven years of their son dying of smallpox their daughter Sarah was born. Even though he was an important person in his community and always trying to come up with new invention he always had time for his kids.


Benjamin Franklin was just like every other well known person in history. He had challenges and obstacles just like everyone else. “Successes take the spotlight, while failures are rarely mentioned. But with any great entrepreneur the failures are just paving stones to the triumphs.” (Grimm). He began a magazine that failed but that didn’t matter since he ended up owning a print shop in Philadelphia. Even though he only went to school for one year he still managed to become a genius and a very important man in history. Besides all of the amazing inventions he created he also established colleges. “His self-education earned him honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, Oxford University in England, and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.” (Grimm).

Benjamin Franklins’ father wanted to send him to clergy but that took a lot of education and he was only able to send him to school for a year. “After helping James compose pamphlets and set type which was grueling work, 12-year-old Benjamin would sell their products in the streets.” (Heller). When he was 15 he wanted to write for his brothers’ newspaper and he would come up with little schemes to try and get his work printed. The most famous person he pretended to be was a made up widow named Silence Dogood. He would trick his brother by slipping them underneath his print shop door. He kept that up for 16 letters until he told everyone that it was him who was Silence Dogood. “Franklin himself said, ‘Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.’ ”(Grimm). This is a great saying since everyone is afraid of mistakes and failures.

Historical Significance

Franklin is probably most known for the invention of electricity. “By 1749 he retired from business and started concentrating on science, experiments, and inventions.” (Heller). It was a year after retiring that he invented electricity. Ben invented electricity by making a kite, tying a ribbon and connecting it to a key. He also created lighting rods so that when a lightning storm came it would go for the highest point it can find which was the lightning rods. With this invention it brought the number of fires down a lot.

Besides the invention of electricity he also invented other things that people still use to this day. One example is the wood stove that he called the “Franklin Stove”. Of course we know it today as a fireplace. This invention benefited everyone when winter was approaching people had a place where they can get together and be warm. Just like everyone as we age our eyesight starts to get worse and to fix this problem he invented bifocals. He figured out a way to fit both types of lenses into one frame. “The distance lens was placed at the top and the up-close lens was placed at the bottom.(Bellis).

“In 1757, he went to England to represent Pennsylvania in its fight with the descendants of the Penn family over who should represent the Colony.” (Heller). During his early time in England he considered himself a loyal Englishman. He was considering of staying there permanently because the people there were fine thinkers and also for the theater. He then realized that he couldn’t because his wife Deborah was afraid of traveling by ship. His son William became the governor of New Jersey in 1763. When Ben left England in 1775 and returned home he was working actively in independence. He thought that his son William would agree with his views but he was wrong. “This caused a rift between father and son which was never healed.” (Heller).

Benjamin Franklin was part of the most well known moment in all of history. “Franklin was elected to the Second Continental Congress and worked on a committee of five that helped to draft the Declaration of Independence.” (Heller). There were other people who helped Benjamin draft the Declaration of Independence which included Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman. “These documents elevated the importance of the individual in the political process, promising the state's protection of citizens' natural, inalienable rights.”(Bellis). A total of 56 people signed the Declaration of Independence and Ben was the oldest person that signed it.

Bellis, Mary "Benjamin Franklin" 2006. web, 31 Oct. 2014

Benton, Michael "Declaration of Independence Benjamin Franklin", 6 November 2013, web, 17 November 2014

Green, James and Stallybrass Peter "Benjamin Franklin: Writer and Printer", 2006, web, 1 Oct. 2014

Grimm, Laura "Benjamin Franklin Biography", 2014, web 14 Oct.2014

Heller, Douglas "The Electric Ben Franklin" 4 July 1995, web, 22 Sep 2014

Stan, Seymour " Benjamin Franklin: America's Inventor" February 2006, web, 9 December 2014