Sunday, June 04, 2006

Benjamin Franklin

February 27, 2006

"Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What's a sun-dial in the shade?" ~Benjamin Franklin

Who was Benjamin Franklin? Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was one of the most prominent founders of the United States of America. Although he never held national elective office, his influence shaped the formation of the nation. His success in winning French military and financial aid was critical to the victory of the colonies. He was a diplomatic genius and fluent in five languages.

Noted for his curiosity, ingenuity and diversity of interests, his wit and wisdom have stood the test of time. In 1733 he began to publish Poor Richard's Almanack and sold about ten thousand copies a year, which made many of his popular proverbs widely available including "A penny saved is twopence clear" (often misquoted as "A penny saved is a penny earned") and "Fish and visitors stink in three days."

He established both the first public lending library and fire department in America and was immersed in science and technology of his day. The Franklin stove, medical catheter, lightening rod, and bifocals are just a few of his inventions. He played a major role in establishing the University of Pennsylvania and Franklin and Marshall College. Near the end of his life, he became one of the most prominent early American abolitionists. Today his picture is on the U.S. $100 bill.


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