Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ben Franklin

Today in school we learned about Benjamin Franklin and some of the things that he is famous for.
We learned about the Franklin Stove. Previously, all houses were heated by fireplaces only but Ben saw that it could be better and safer. He invented a fireplace made out of cast iron that could be placed anywhere in a house. They are still in use today over 250 years later. Google Images has some good examples of what Franklin Stoves look like. The amazing thing about many (if not all) of Franklin's inventions is that he didn't patent any of them - he felt that it was better to share his knowledge with the world so that everyone could profit rather than keep the knowledge to himself for personal profit.

We also learned about his annual pamphlet called Poor Richard's Almanac. It was like a normal almanac with reports of the weather and some demographics but it also included numerous sayings that Ben came up with on his own and borrowed from other writers. Many popular writers in later years have made slight of Ben's sayings but I ask you this "Who can you quote from: Nathaniel Hawthorne or Ben Franklin?" I know "Early to bed and early to rise, Keeps a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." but I'm not even sure if Mr Hawthorne wrote The Crucible or The Scarlet Letter without checking. BTW, he wrote The Scarlet Letter.

Here are some quotes from Poor Richard's Almanac that I liked today:
* Many dishes - many diseases, Many medicines - few cures.
* A Lie stands on 1 leg, Truth on 2.
* Without justice, courage is weak.
* Poverty wants some things, Luxury many things, Avarice all things.
* Some are weatherwise, some are otherwise.
* To be humble to Superiors is Duty, to Equals Courtesy, to Inferiors Nobleness.
* Mary’s mouth costs her nothing, for she never opens it but at others expense.
* Where there’s Marriage without Love, there will be Love without Marriage.
* Don’t value a man for the Quality he is of, but for the Qualities he possesses.
* Love, Cough, & a Smoke, can’t well be hid.
* Well done is better than well said.
* Search others for their virtues, thy self for thy vices.

Enough for now, I'm off to oversee division of 3 digits by one digit with remainders.

1 comment:

spain dad said...

Funny. I was just listening to NPR the other day, and they were talking about how the story of Benjamin Franklin flying the kite with a key and getting struck by lightning probably never happened. I guess he wrote about the possibility of conducting this experiment in his journal, but never indicated that he actually tried it out himself.

One more urban legend.