Benjamin Franklin – founding father, diplomat, printer, postmaster, scientist, inventor – the list of Ben Franklin’s titles goes on and on.
In honor of what would have been his 308th birthday today, on January 17th, we put together a list of our Top 5 Reasons Why Ben Franklin Still Rocks Today:
1. "May not the knowledge of this power of points be of use to mankind, in preserving houses, churches, ships, etc., from the stroke of lightning, by directing us to fix, on the highest parts of those edifices, upright rods of iron made sharp as a needle...”
Yep, Ben Franklin discovered and proved that lightning was electricity (through very dangerous, scientific experiments) and he also invented the lightning rod. Us not getting struck by lightning every time there’s a thunderstorm… Thanks, Mr. Franklin!
2. After observing how Philadelphians dealt with fighting fires, Ben Franklin decided that amateur firefighters weren’t enough to keep the city safe and founded the first fire company and later the first fire insurance company in America, making Philadelphia one of the safest cities in terms of fire protection.
3. Ever been to a library to borrow some books instead of buying them from a bookstore? Well, Ben Franklin founded America’s first lending library and helped to make reading for pleasure affordable and popular among the working class. Hey, “a penny saved is a penny earned”, right?
4. Way before the internet and emails came about, Ben Franklin was America’s first Postmaster General and revolutionized what is today the U.S. Postal Service by setting up a formal mail delivery and payment system based on urgency and travel time needed to deliver mail.
5. Speaking of “Franklin Firsts” that still help us out today, Ben Franklin also founded America’s first public hospital (Pennsylvania Hospital), the first university (the University of Pennsylvania), he invented bifocals and the Pennsylvania Fireplace, an iron furnace stove that was more energy and cost efficient than conventional wood fireplaces used at the time.
Clearly, Ben Franklin was a true patriot who served his new country and its citizens throughout his entire life. Even back in 1790, before the likes of Facebook, Twitter, cars and airplanes, when people heard about Ben Franklin’s death, 20,000 mourners gathered in Philadelphia for his funeral. That’s huge – even in today’s world!
Now, almost 225 years later, we still celebrate his life each year with parties, special events and parades. Check out Visit Philly’s roundabout of Ben Franklin celebrations around town for his big 3-0-8:
Happy birthday, Ben Franklin! Rock on!