Top Ten Things Ben Franklin Gave the World

307 years ago, a man by the name of Benjamin Franklin was born.  Of all the founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin has always been my favorite.  Don’t get me wrong – the majority of them were all educated, some inventors, some with wisdom beyond their time that would last through centuries.  But, Benjamin Franklin, the son of a soap maker, he continues to affect our lives in ways that many of us don’t even realize.  Here are just a few ways:

Bifocals: Yes.  Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals, after becoming tired of having to change glasses for up close and far away.

“Remember that time is money” — Words said by Ben, that are still repeated today. Perhaps your boss has used those words today?

Electricity:  I didn’t put this at number one, only because of course electricity “existed” before Benjamin Franklin.  So he didn’t invent it, but it’s because of him that we began to understand it A LOT more. He also coined many new terms in relation to electricity including: Charge, Conductor, Positively, Negatively, and Battery (more on batteries in a moment)

Odometers: We may not look at them everyday,  but they are definitely in all of our automobiles.  As PostMaster, Franklin wanted to keep track of routes delivering the mail.

Batteries: The battery might have many incarnations today, but Ben is the one who first developed the name and experimented with his “Franklin Battery.”

“A penny saved is a penny earned” — It’s a little bit of a misquote from what was originally said by Franklin – but I certainly cannot count the number of times this was said to me by my parents and grandparents.

Public Libraries: Franklin created the first U.S. public library so the less fortunate could expand their minds.

Swim Fins:  Ok, so maybe we don’t use swimfins everyday.  But, he did invent them at the age of 11. (His were just used on the hands instead of the feet)

“Benjamins” — The Pennsylvania Gazette was a printing press owned by Benjamin Franklin that began printing the first paper money in Philadelphia and Delaware.  (Even with misspellings thought to ward off counterfeits.) Over a century later, an image of Franklin was used on the $100 bill, and many of us call them Benjamins to this day.

Freedom:  Yes, we have him to thank for this.  He was one of the 5 men to draft the Declaration of Independence. He was also one of only 4 men to sign the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolutionary War and acknowledged the United States to be a free, sovereign and independent nation. 

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from Ben Franklin?


Crystal is Store Manager at Half Price Books Flagship in Dallas, Texas.

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