Benjamin Franklin A+ Essays Benjamin Franklin (An A+ Essays Original Paper, written by WeirdHTML) Benjamin Franklin was one of the first and most famous scientists in America. He was a man of many talents and interests. Franklin was always curios about they way things work, and he always tried to find ways to make them work better. Even though he started out as a published, he was always interested in science. However this interest soon became a passion to Franklin.
He even retired from his publishing business to work in a laboratory with his mostly homemade equipment. Throughout his life Benjamin Franklin made many important discoveries and theories which greatly influenced future scientists and inventors. Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706. He was the seventh child in his family. Franklin started going to school when he was ten, and became an apprentice to his older brother who owned a printing firm in Philadelphia. He quickly became well known throughout the American colonies as the publisher of the Pennsylvania Gazette, a newspaper, and of Poor Richard’s Almanac, an annual compilation of information and witticisms (Grolier 90).
Even though he did not attend school for a long time, Franklin began interested in science. He was particularly interested in electricity. Even though there were already many experiments being conducted in this field, none of them had fully explained this phenomenon. Franklin soon left his printing business and built a laboratory to spend more time studying electricity. In the subsequent decade he plunged into his scientific investigations and into provincial politics with equal zest (Morris 15). While he was in Boston, he met Dr.
Spence who had arrived from Scotland and showed Franklin several experiments. They were not perfectly performed since Dr. Spence was not an expert, but they did surprise and interest Franklin. Some time later he had received a glass tube and some information on how to perform experiments with it. Franklin soon became practical in performing such experiments, and also invented some of his own.
People from all over the town even came to witness them. Benjamin Franklin developed a theory that every object had an “electrical fluid”. He believed that some objects had too much of this fluid, while others did not. By putting his theories together, he invented the electrical battery. It was made out of glass, lead plates, silk thread, and some wire. He was also the first to explain the electric force produced from friction.
Franklin realized that if a piece of silk were rubbed against a glass, the glass would have a positive charge. Other scientists at that time believed that rubbing produced electricity, however Franklin said that it was just the “electric fluid” being transferred from the silk to the glass. This is known today as the law of conservation of change and it is one of the basic principles of physics. Franklin published his theories in a book titled “Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia”. It became a best seller in Europe as well as in the colonies. The main topic of this book was Franklin’s theory that lightning was electrical energy. This was not a new idea, but Benjamin Franklin was the first to perform an experiment on it.
He said that if a metal rod was to be placed on top of a tower or a tall building, it would be struck by lightning and hold an electrical charge. Many scientists in Europe tried this experiment, and some had successful results. When a French scientist, De Lor, attempted to repeat one of the proposed experiments from the book a huge crowd of curious people had gathered in Paris to see it. In 1752 Franklin devised another experiment to test if lighting has an electrical charge. He flied a kite carrying a pointed wire in a thunderstorm and attempted to test his theory that atmospheric lightning is an electrical phenomenon similar to the spark produced by an electrical frictional machine (Bruno 406). To the kite Franklin attached a silk thread with a metal key.
This was a very dangerous procedure, because if he failed to ground the wire he could have been easily killed by the electric current. His experiment was successful, and whenever the lightning hit the key, it produced sparks just like Franklin theorized. By performing this experiment, he has demonstrated that electricity in the atmosphere is the same as that generated on earth. For his success Franklin received a gold medal from Sir Godfrey Copley presented to him by the governor. This experiment led to Franklin’s invention of a lighting rod.
It was a long metal pole to be attached to the roof of a house. During a storm the lightning would hit the pole, without destroying the building. Franklin’s invention saved hundreds of lives, because house fires caused by lighting were a big problem during his time. Similar lightning rods are still in use today, and are always placed atop tall structures. Benjamin Franklin always tried to invent new and easier ways of performing common tasks. For example, when he was appointed the postmaster of Philadelphia, he had to figure out routes for delivering mail.
Franklin went out to measure the routes and needed a way to keep track of the distances. He invented an odometer and attached it to his carriage. Today a similar device is placed in all motor vehicles, and is used to measure the distance it has traveled. Another well-known invention of Benjamin Franklin was the open stove, often called the “Franklin Stove”. In 1742 he attempted to create a stove which would provide better warming of rooms and at the same time save fuel. It was based on the models constructed by Robert Grace, one of Franklin’s friends.
He published a pamphlet entitled “An Account of the new-invented Pennsylvania Fireplaces”. In it Franklin described how the stove was to be constructed and operated, as well as it’s advantages over other methods of warming houses. The pamphlet became very popular in Philadelphia, and Governor Thomas even offered to give Franklin a patent for the sole right of producing and vending them. However Franklin declined because he believed that peoples appreciation of his invention was better then any financial reward. He wrote in his autobiography, “As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously” (76).
At the same time Franklin established America’s first fire insurance company. He also organized a night watch and a militia to keep peace and provide safety for the residents of Philadelphia. Even though he was successful in his scientific career, by the middle of 1750s Benjamin Franklin decided to go into politics. He proved to be a skilled politician, helping to lead the colonies through the American Revolution (Grolier 92). Even during his frequent trips to Europe on diplomatic missions, Franklin tried to conduct scientific research.
He learned a lot about ships and the way they worked. He discovered a way to make ships work better and more safely by inventing watertight bulkheads. While being in Paris in 1767, Benjamin Franklin proposed the idea of daylight savings time. In his autobiography Benjamin wrote, “I observ’d there was not one shop open, tho’ it had been daylight and the sun up above three hours; the inhabitants of London chusing voluntarily to live much by candle-light” (84). He thought it was ridiculous that people sleep during sunshine and live by candlelight. Also many of the residents were complaining about the high price of candles and their poor durability.
Franklin proposed that time should be adjusted so that there would be more daylight during the evenings in autumn, and less during the spring. His idea was strong advocated by a London builder in the pamphlet “Waste of Daylight” that proposed advancing clocks 20 minutes on each of four Sundays in Geller 7 April, and returning them by the same amount on four Sundays in September. His campaign led to the introduction of British Summer Time in an Act of Parliament in 1916. Clocks were put one hour ahead during the summer months. This idea proposed by Benjamin Franklin is still in use all around the world, and today it also helps conserve energy as well as daylight.
Because of his frequent reading, Benjamin Franklin had poor vision and required glasses. Because he had to constantly take them off and put them on again, he tried to figure a way to make his glasses let him see both near and far. He cut two pairs of spectacles in half and put each one into a separate frame. Today these types of glasses are called bifocals and are used by many people with poor vision. In 1769 Benjamin Franklin developed the first chart of the Gulf Stream.
The Gulf Stream is the warm ocean current that flows northeast up the Atlantic coast of North America. He said that ships traveling to Europe should stay in this stream and those returning to America should avoid it. At his old age Franklin was still productive and continued inventing new things. He found that it was difficult for him to reach books from the high shelves. Even though he had many grandchildren who were willing to help him, he invented a tool called “the long arm” to reach books located on high shelves.
It was a wooden pole with a grasping claw at the end. A list of Benjamin Franklin’s inventions reveals a man of many talents and interests. He was a brilliant scientist and his ingenuity brought us many inventions we are still using today. Franklin was always curious to find out how different things worked, and always tried to find some way of making them work better. Other famous scientists like Thomas A.
Edison and Alexander Graham Bell followed his footsteps and created many new inventions which made people’s lives easier and more enjoyable. Works Cited 1. Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Buccaneer Books Inc., 1984. 2. Van Doren, Carl.
Benjamin Franklin. New York: Viking Penguin, 1991. 3. Birch, Beverly and Robin Bell Corfield. Benjamin Franklin’s Adventures with Electricity.
New York: Baron’s Educational Series, Inc., 1998. 4. The Grolier Library of North American Biographies. Connecticut: Grolier Educational Corporation, 1994. 5.
Bruno, Leonard. Science and Technology Breakthroughs. Michigan: Gale Group, 1998. 6. Morris, Richard. Seven Who Shaped Our Destiny.
New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1973.