b. Jan.17, 1706, Boston
d. April 17, 1790, Philadelphia
- He was the youngest son of a youngest son of a youngest son of a youngest son.
- He invented the harmonica, the rocking chair, the street lamp, the lightning conductor, and the Franklin stove – to name a few.
- He originated the first circulating library.
- He originated the first street-cleaning department.
- He is the father of modern dentistry.
- He organized the first fire department.
- He was the founder of the Democratic party.
- He established the modern post-office system.
- He was a pioneer of the modern voting system for Congress.
- He was a vegetarian
- He was left handed
pseudonym RICHARD SAUNDERS American printer and publisher, author, inventor and scientist, and diplomat.
Franklin, next to George Washington possibly the most famous 18th-century American, by 1757 had made a small fortune, established the Poor Richard of his almanacs (written under his pseudonym) as an oracle on how to get ahead in the world, and become widely known in European scientific circles for his reports of electrical experiments and theories. What is more, he was then just at the beginning of a long career as a politician, in the course of which he would be chief spokesman for the British colonies in their debates with the king’s ministers about self-government and would have a hand in the writing of the Declaration of Independence, the securing of financial and military aid from France during the American Revolution, the negotiation of the treaty by which Great Britain recognized its former 13 colonies as a sovereign nation, and the framing of the Constitution, which for more than two centuries has been the fundamental law of the United States of America.
And as impressive as Franklin’s public service was, it was perhaps less remarkable than his contributions to the comfort and safety of daily life. He invented a stove, still being manufactured, to give more warmth than open fireplaces; the lightning rod and bifocal eyeglasses also were his ideas. Grasping the fact that by united effort a community may have amenities which only the wealthy few can get for themselves, he helped establish institutions people now take for granted: a fire company, a library, an insurance company, an academy, and a hospital. In some cases these foundations were the first of their kind in North America.
One might expect universal admiration for a man of such breadth and apparent altruism. Yet Franklin was disliked by some of his contemporaries and has ever since occasionally been attacked as a materialist or a hypocrite. D.H. Lawrence, the English novelist, regarded him as the embodiment of the worst traits of the American character. Max Weber, the German sociologist, made him the exemplar of the “Protestant ethic,” a state of mind that contributed much, Weber thought, to the less admirable aspects of modern capitalism. Those who admire Franklin believe that his detractors have mistakenly identified him with Poor Richard, a persona of his own creation, or that they have relied too largely upon the incomplete self-portrait of his posthumously published Autobiography.
Franklin’s experiment has an interesting archetypal aspect. The fact that it is the framer of the American constitution who tames and demystifies this previously heavenly force is very interesting. There is an epigram on a French bust of Franklin which states:
“He wrested the flash of lightning from heaven and the scepter from the tyrants.”
So, here you have the idea of electricity connecting to the idea of political Prometheanism. But for all his fame, Franklin wasn’t the first person to have the idea of the lightning rod. In fact, that credit goes to a Moravian named Prokop Divisch who was a Premonstratensian monk. One day he was sitting around and diddling around with electrostatic machines and he discovers the principle of the lightning rod. In fact, he came to Emperor Franz Josef and said, “Listen. I want to put a lightning rod on top of the Hofburg.” But the Emperor wouldn’t have any of it. So, if Franklin stands as the exoteric story of how we tame electricity and bring this mysterious force down to earth in order to exploit it for rational gain, we also have the monk who opens up this esoteric side that I am trying to point to, in which electricity is an imponderable fluid that becomes symbolized and related to the higher powers.
– Erik Davis – _Spiritual Telegraphs and the Technology of Communication_ lecture
For the natural philosophers and tinkerers of the eighteenth century, electrical experimentation was a calling worthy of the most hackerish obsessions. One such electrogeek was the young Benjamin Franklin, who built a name for himself by knocking together electrostatic machines and writing intelligent articles on the mysterious force. Franklin was the first to recognize that the “electrical fluid” was polarized into what he described as “positively” and “negatively” charged states. Franklin also reasoned that when differently charged bodies came into contact with one another, the fluid equalized itself – which is exactly what happened when the young fellow launched his famous kite from a Maryland tobacco field in 1752. Grasping the soakingkite string, Franklin felt a “very evident electric spark” blast through his hearty frame to loose itself on the earth.
Like countless later American Masons, including Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, and the astronauts John Glenn and Buzz Aldrin, Franklin put into practice American’s cult of the technological sublime. As the American religious scholar Catherine Albanese argues in her discussion of American Masonry, “if any genuinely new popular religion arose in New World America, it was a nature religion of radical empiricism, with the aim of that religion to conflate spirit and matter and, in the process, turn human beings into gods.
– Erik Davis – _Techgnosis: Myth, Magic & Mysticism In The Age Of Information_
On April 17, 1790, American statesman Benjamin Franklin died, having harbored for many years an interest in the possibility of bringing the dead back to life. On one occasion, he noticed that flies that he had presumed drowned in a bottle of wine revived when he placed them in the sun, and he hypothesized that humans might also be retrieved from death. Indeed, he jestingly wrote to a friend that because of his “ardent desire to see thes tate of America a hundred years hence,” he would “prefer to an ordinary death being immersed witha few friends in a cask of Madeira,” from which he could be “recalled to life.”
“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.” – Benjamin Franklin
E pluribus unum. (Out of many, one.)
Motto for the Seal of the United States. Adopted 20 June 1782, recommended by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, 10 Aug. 1776, and proposed by Swiss artist Pierre Eugene du Simitière. It had originally appeared on the title page of the Gentleman’s Journal (Jan. 1692).
“They that can give up essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security.”
— Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin is referenced in the track _The Sounds Of Science_ by Beastie Boys off of _Paul’s Boutique_ (1988)