17.To his life's end, Ben Franklin remained a printer and took pride in it. Wherever he lived in Europe or America, he managed to have a printing press at his disposal. It is no accident that his last will and testament, written at age eighty-three (the year before he died) begins "I, Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia, printer…".18.Ben Franklin first saw himself in print at age 16, writing his controversial, feminist "Silence Do good" letters, published anonymously in his brother's newspaper, The New England Courant. 19.As a teenager Ben Franklin became an expert swimmer. On his visit to London at age nineteen, Ben went on a boating excursion with his printer friends. During the trip he leaped into the Thames River and swam from Chelsea to Blackfriars, performing every kind of feat, under water and above. He had learned these feats in the Schuylkill River at home in Philadelphia. He was so expert that he seriously considered opening a swimming school. 20.At the age of twenty-two, Ben Franklin was the owner of the Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper. His printing company printed the paper money for both Pennsylvania and Delaware. 21.As a young man in his twenties, Ben Franklin was elected clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly, and he used his printing company to print their laws and other business. He was made postmaster of Philadelphia, which helped him circulate his newspaper. 22.Ben Franklin taught himself to read French, Spanish, Latin, and Italian. His passion for self-improvement extended to public projects; he organized the first fire company in the colonies, made designs for paving and lighting Philadelphia streets and for expanding the city watch to a force of police. 23.Ben Franklin, at the age of twenty-one, established the colonies' first circulation library for all interested citizens. The Library Company of Philadelphia, as it was called, housed not only books but also specimens of natural history and scientific apparatus. There were stuffed snakes, a dead pelican, and a collection of fossils. 24.Ben Franklin was already over forty-five years old when he started his experiments in electricity. In 1747 he was given a gift of his first experimental apparatus - a glass tube, over three feet long, as big around as a man's wrist, with instructions for its use in obtaining electric sparks. 25.In his first five years of conducting electricity experiments, Ben Franklin did not make much use of higher mathematics, since he was notably deficient in the subject. Rather, all his early experiments were done by hand, by trial and error, with simple objects as tools: glass tubes and tubes of resin, a gun barrel, corks, iron shot, and wax plates.26.Ben Franklin's "single fluid theory" showed that a given body possessing a normal amount of electric fluid was called neutral. During the process of charging, the fluid was transferred from one body to the other; the body with the deficiency being charged minus and the body with the excess charged plus . But no fluid is lost. Ben's "single fluid theory" led to the electron theory in 1900: electrons move about conductors much as a fluid might move. Nobel Prize winner and physicist, Robert A. Millikan, called Ben's experiment that led to this theory "probably the most fundamental thing ever done in the field of electricity".
27.Ben Franklin had to invent electricity terminology as he went along in his experiments. A scholar who traced Ben's vocabulary found at least twenty-five electrical terms which he was the first to use: examples --armature, battery, brush, charged, condense, conductor, plus and minus, positively and negatively 28.Ben Franklin became so absorbed in his electricity experiments that he sold his printing business to concentrate on his experiments. There is little doubt that he could have amassed a fortune had he stayed in business, but Ben enjoyed his simple style of living and he had no ambition for outward display of wealth. 29.Ben Franklin had a horror of debt,...
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