Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Benjamin Franklin

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1. Ben Franklin came from a large family.

In fact, his father, Josiah Franklin, had 17 children with 2 wives. He was the 8th to the second wife but the 15th in total. He started to work with his brothers in a print shop at the age of 12.

2. Ben Franklin was a writer.

Franklin started out with a passion in writing and wrote many writings immediately after starting work. However, his older brother refused to publish his writings. After more work and effort, he was able to take his writings elsewhere to get published, many of which are famous today.

3. He was a volunteer fireman.

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He had a passion for “paying it forward” and giving back to the community. The department he volunteered for is called the Union Fire Company, but is now known as “Benjamin  Franklin’s Bucket Brigade”. After volunteering multiple times, he wrote articles on fire safety.

4. Ben Franklin is known for inventing the glass harmonica.

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He designed the glass harmonica, or armonica, in 1761. It creates musical tones by using different sized glass bowls. It’s kind of like the old-fashioned version of rubbing your finger on a crystal glass.

5. Franklin could speak 5 languages.

He taught himself to read French, Latin, Italian, and Spanish, after already knowing English. He was always looking for ways to self-improve and figured being fluent in other languages would help him in his future.

6. During experiments, Franklin was almost killed twice.

The only reason he survived was because he didn’t receive a strong enough charge. One time he was trying to help cure a paralyzed man with electric shock. The other time was a result from his attempt to kill a turkey with electrical shock.

7. He created the first insurance company in the colonies.

The number one adversary? Fire. The full name was Philadelphia Contributorship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss By Fire. The idea was so every man could help each other.

8. Franklin invented the rocking chair.

Next time you’re sitting in a rocking chair and thinking, “This is the life!”, remember our good pal Benjamin Franklin. He fitted the legs of his armchair with curved pieces of wood and made an invention that is still widely used today.

9. Ben Franklin owned his first company at the age of 22.

He was the owner of the Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper. His printing company also printed paper money for Pennsylvania and Delaware.

10. 20,000 people attended his funeral.

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This is a large number today, but especially back then it was huge. Franklin died on April 17, 1790. His funeral was well attended by people who had been touched by his life and looked up to his legacy.

Written by Caitlin Probst