Tomorrow is the 4th of July – without a doubt, the United States’ biggest holiday. We celebrate with block parties, picnics, days at the beach, baseball games, fireworks, and time with friends and family. But since this is a print-related blog, we just HAVE to take a look at one of the Founding Fathers – who happened to be a printer! So, did you know these things about Benjamin Franklin:
• He was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1706.
• He became a printer’s apprentice in 1718 to his brother James.
• In 1723, at age 17, he ran away to Philadelphia. He loved the printing business but despised working for his brother James.
• He worked for printers in Philadelphia and then opened his own print shop in 1728.
• He invented the Pennsylvania Fireplace. Most people called it the Franklin Stove.
• He invented the lightning rod, but refused to patent it and make any money off of his invention: he simply wanted people to be safe from structure fires, which were quite common in that day.
• He conducted the famous experiment with a kite and a key and proved that lightning was indeed electricity. Most people did not believe that in those days.
• He was a printer, publisher, writer, scientist, and diplomat.
• Ben used to secretly borrow books from a friend who worked in a bookstore and returned them each morning and the owner never knew.
• At age 16, he wrote letters to the Courant under the name of Silence Dogood, which his brother published. When his brother finally discovered it was Ben writing the letters, he was furious.
• When he was 22, he opened his own print shop.
• He started a newspaper called the Pennsylvania Gazette and it was the most popular in the colonies. He then franchised it later in other colonies.
• He wrote Poor Richard’s Almanack, which was wildly successful in the colonies. It was second in sales throughout the colonies only to the Bible.
• He became very rich as a printer and writer and he retired when he was 42 and sold his businesses and directed his energy to science.
• He invented bifocal glasses.
• He died in 1790 at the age of 84 of pleurisy at his home in Philadelphia.
Enjoy your 4th of July!!!