5 Fun Facts About Benjamin Franklin (whose birthday is Sunday)
1. Benjamin Franklin would be 315 Sunday.
Born in Boston in 1706 and one of Josiah Franklin’s 17 children, Franklin attended school until he was 10. The rest of his education was accomplished through personal reading.
2. He was a predecessor to Mrs. Doubtfire.
Ben’s brother James founded The New-England Courant, the first truly independent newspaper in the colonies. When denied the chance to write a letter to the paper for publication, Franklin adopted the pseudonym of “Silence Dogood“, a middle-aged widow. Mrs. Dogood’s letters were published and became a subject of conversation around town.
3. He created one of the country’s first libraries.
Franklin conceived the idea of a subscription library, which would pool the funds of the members to buy books for all to read. This was the birth of the Library Company of Philadelphia: its charter was composed by Franklin in 1731. In 1732, Franklin hired the first American librarian, Louis Timothee.
4. In 1728, he began publishing The Pennsylvania Gazette.
Even after Franklin had achieved fame as a scientist and statesman, he habitually signed his letters with the unpretentious ‘B. Franklin, Printer.’
5. He was a prodigious inventor.
Among his many creations were the lightning rod, glass harmonica (a glass instrument, not to be confused with the metal harmonica), Franklin stove, bifocal glasses and the flexible urinary catheter.