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Benjamin Franklin: American Inventor

By Edited Feb 17, 2016 4 7

Franklin's Many Inventions

A Life Filled With Creativity

Many people know who Benjamin Franklin is, but he accomplished much more in his life than most people have probably read about. Ben Franklin led a storied life as a founding father of the United States of America, but he didn't play just one role as an American hero. Franklin was a civic activist, revolutionary, philosopher, printer, and maybe most importantly of all, he was an inventor.

Everyone has heard the story of Benjamin Franklin flying a kite in a lightning storm, but did you know he was responsible for inventing the lightning rod? Not only that, but he also invented the bifocals to aid in reading, as well as the Franklin stove.

Ben Franklin: What Did He Invent?

Ben Franklin(91850)

The Franklin Stove

Hot Stuff

Although Benjamin Franklin didn't invent the stove itself, he certainly made some improvements to the existing model. For example, his new "Franklin Stove" burned much cleaner than previous versions up to that time. This stove is so effective that some people still use it today (although not that many, obviously), so do not be surprised to see Franklin Stove pictures taken from modern houses. But the reason people can use the Franklin Stove is because Ben Franklin didn't patent, just like he refused to patent all of his inventions. He did this because he believed more people would benefit from his inventions if he allowed anyone to construct and use them. What a guy!

Ben Franklin Bifocal Glasses

See What I Mean?

Ben Franklin Bifocals

Another of Franklin's inventions is probably a tad more famous, because so many paintings of Franklin show him using this invention. That's right, we're talking about Ben Franklin's bifocal glasses, which again are an invention that is still popular today. How did he get the idea to invent Ben Franklin Bifocals? Franklin invented the lenses for spectacles for the purpose of allowing people to see farther away, as well as close up, without having to carry around two different pairs of glasses. It's all about convenience, you see (no pun intended).

The Lightning Rod

Drawing A Charge

One of the most well-known tales about Ben Franklin is his kite experiment, where he flew a key attached to a kite in a thunderstorm. This experiment actually led to the invention of two different items. The first of these was the lightning rod, which can draw the charge of electricity to it, leading it safely to the ground. Lightning rods also neutralize charges in clouds themselves, preventing lightning strikes (but only extremely high lightning rods can do this).

Another invention that came out of Franklin's kite experiment is the light bulb, although Franklin didn't come up with this one (hey, you can't invent everything by yourself). As we know, the light bulb is typically credited to Thomas Edison, but Franklin certainly laid the groundwork (er, cloud-work) for this invention with his kite and key experiment.

Franklin's Legacy

Benjamin Franklin wore many hats and played many roles in life, but one of the roles that continues to reward society the most is Franklin's time as an inventor. From the lightning rod to the Franklin Stove, all of his inventions are still of use today, and they will probably continue to be of use well into tomorrow.

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Comments

Apr 1, 2012 5:52pm
askformore
Thank you for a great article about Benjamin Franklin, one of the most creative minds ever. Thumbs up!
Apr 1, 2012 7:12pm
Etcetera
Fabulous! Benjamin Franklin is a hero of mine.
Apr 28, 2012 10:53am
footloose
I especially loved learning that he didn't patent his inventions. There is a saying that you can't keep it unless you give it away. Thumbs up.
Apr 30, 2012 9:34pm
hillloyd
Best Ben Franklin quote, "Beer is God's way of saying, "I love you.""
Go Ben !!
May 1, 2012 1:55pm
aberdelle
I recently read his autobiography. It is amazing what he acomolished. It is a fairly good read. Thanks for the refresher!
May 2, 2012 4:38am
harinhet
Benjamin Franklin was truly an amazing man and we all can learn a lot from him.Nice article.
May 3, 2012 8:26am
bellahurst
This article is amazing, so much interesting information, I've learned so many new thinks. Keep up the good work!
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