Franklin the Printer and More


In Philadelphia he set up his press, and printed pamphlets, paper, and of course his famous Poor Richard’s Almanac.

A Young Ben Franklin first arrived in Philadelphia virtually penniless. There are stories of his walking down the street with nothing save two loaves of bread under his arm, and the clothes on his back. Before long he was very successful, and married with children. For years he republished pamphlets from both American and English authors. Was very generous to all religious persuasions, and his homespun humor and gritty wisdom tended to make him very popular with the farmers his almanacs were targeted at.

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” is among the famous quotations from Franklin that still pepper the American everyday language. “A penny saved is a penny earned.” is another. “God invented beer because he wanted men to be happy.” And one could easily go on and on. As Postmaster, he was responsible for developing an efficient system of roads communicating between the early American population centers. Not only mail, but people and goods travelled much more quickly from point a to point b due to this accomplishment.

He is also an innovative thinker on the sharing of knowledge. America’s first public library, and the check out and return concept we all take so much for granted today was set up as part of a club Franklin belonged to, and was so useful that visitors to Philadelphia soon had to imitate the concept in their own homes.

Franklin the scientist, or Doctor Franklin as he was called after an honorary doctoral degree. Was a pioneer in the field of electricity and other scientific pursuits. He is well known as the inventor of the Franklin stove. Bifocals were also an innovation he has to his credit. But his work on electricity was cutting edge, and is still important in understanding why the American conception of current flow differs from that of the rest of the world. Everybody remembers his kite experiment, the lighting rod, and experiments with early batteries. His musical accomplishments were also a tremendous hit in Europe where his glass harmonica entertained thousands.

So; as a literary man, an inventor, philosopher, scientist, and even founding father who signed the Declaration of independence and helped frame essential compromises in the Constitution Benjamin Franklin is a man of such wide ranging and varied accomplishment that none can question that he deserves his fame, just as none can easily fully define it. He was a man capable of both complex and simple thinking, common sense, and deep thought.