Benjamin Franklin: Inventor

Timeline created by jaminator78
  • Benjamin Franklin is Born

    Benjamin Franklin is Born
    Ben Franklin loved the water. Growing up in Boston, he was drawn to the sea and often dreamed of becoming a sailor. Ben learned to swim and became an expert swimmer. Wanting to increase his speed in the water, Franklin devised fins that he wore on his hands. The fins were shaped like lily pads or an artist's paint pallet and helped the swimmer attain greater speed with each stroke.
  • The Franklin Stove

    The Franklin Stove
    Franklin wanted to build a fireplace or small stove that would use less wood and deliver more heat. With the help of an acquaintance, Franklin modified and built a stove that he claimed would be more efficient. He marketed the stove by printing pamphlets that described the "Pennsylvania Fireplace" and its many benefits. He sold a number of the stoves, but, ironically, they didn't work very well. A later inventor modified Franklin's design to create a truly efficient model.
  • The Lightning Rod

    The Lightning Rod
    Before Franklin's invention, lightning destroyed or damaged many buildings. Franklin's understanding of electricity allowed him to design the lightning rod, which was a metal rod attached to the high point of a building. A metal wire or cable ran from the rod, down the side of the building, and into the ground. When lighting struck, the electricity ran down the rod and cable and into the ground, preventing damage to the building. Franklin came up with the idea for the lightning rod in 1750.
  • The Kite Experiment

    The Kite Experiment
    Benjamin Franklin's wildly dangerous kite experiment has grown into an American legend. Almost everyone has heard of Franklin flying a kite with a key in an electrical storm, but few of us actually understand how the experiment works. Ben hypothesized that lightning is an electrical phenomenon, and that the electrical effect of lightning might be transferable to another object and cause an effect that could be recognized as electricity. He set out to prove it in an experiment.
  • The Glass Harmonica

    The Glass Harmonica
    Click here to play the glass harmonicaBen Franklin found simple beauty in simple tunes. He played several musical instruments, including the violin, harp, and guitar. His great interest in music lead him to build his own glass armonica. This simple musical instrument was played by touching the edge of the spinning glass with dampened fingers. The armonica's beautiful tones appealed to many composers, including Mozart and Beethoven.
  • Franklin's Bifocals

    Franklin's Bifocals
    Anyone who has had to switch back and forth between reading glasses and distance glasses knows why Franklin invented his "double spectacles." Franklin had his optician take the lenses from his two sets of glasses, cut the lenses in two horizontally, and then mount them back into spectacle frames, with the lens for close work at the bottom and the lens for distance at the top. Thus, bifocals were invented.
  • Long Arm Invention

    Long Arm Invention
    Having helped found a library in Philadelphia, Franklin spent a lot of time in the stacks. To help him reach books on upper shelves that were out of his reach, he created an extension arm. The device had two "fingers" that were attached to the end of a long piece of wood or pipe. The fingers could be opened or closed by pulling on a cord that manipulated them. Similar devices are still used today.
  • Benjamin Franklin's Death

    Benjamin Franklin's Death
    Click here to visit the Franklin InstituteBen died peacefully in his sleep on April 17, 1790. He was 84 years old.
    His funeral in Philadelphia attracted the largest crowd of mourners ever known. An estimated 20,000 people crowded around the Christ Church Burial Ground where he was buried beside his wife Deborah Read Rogers Franklin who had died sixteen years before him.