I found this article very interesting and thought others would enjoy it as well. So here it is reprinted in part for my fellow travelers across the sky.
True, Founding Father Benjamin Franklin is on our $100 bill, but contrary to what many people believe, he was never president of the United States. He was far too busy to take on a job like that.As a scientist, writer, printer, philosopher, musician, politician, and inventor Franklin did more in a day than many people do in a lifetime. Here are some of our favorite Franklin facts.
He was a high school dropout. Franklin proved that you don’t need a fancy degree to succeed in life—due to family financial problems, he never graduated from high school.
He created America’s first library. In 1732, Franklin convinced a group of fellow intellectuals to create a library of their personal books, then added a subscription service, in which funds would be used to purchase new books for all to read. The Library Company of Philadelphia, as it was called, still exists today and has over 500,000 rare books.
He invented the first bifocal glasses, odometer, urinary catheter, lightning rod, and many other devices, yet never filed for a patent. Though any one of Franklin’s inventions could have made him a tremendous fortune, he wasn’t greedy about them. He believed that his work was for the common good, and “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,” he wrote in his autobiography. We bet he’d be a big fan of Creative Commons.
He Invented the Franklin Stove. In colonial America, most people warmed their homes by building a fire in a fireplace even though it was kind of dangerous and used a lot of wood. Ben figured that there had to be a better way. His invention of an iron furnace stove allowed people to warm their homes less dangerously and with less wood. Interestingly enough, Ben also established the first fire company and the first fire insurance company in order to help people live more safely.
He created a phonetic alphabet. Franklin’s alphabet got rid of six letters he thought were redundant, and added six new letters for other sounds. As you can probably tell, it never caught on.
As a young man, Franklin created a list of 13 virtues, and worked on obeying them throughout his life. Here is the list; you may find it helpful too:
Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation
Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversations
Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time
Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve
Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; that is, waste nothing
Industry: Lose not time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions
Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; speak accordingly Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think you deserve
Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes or habitation
Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles or accidents common or unavoidable Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation
Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates
20,000 people attended his funeral. Franklin truly was a rock star for his time—and he remains so today.