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Ben Franklin: The Original Gazetteer

"Ben Franklin: The Original Gazetteer" is an article written by SJ 7th grade student Carter Stone.

Many people throughout the world think that they know who Benjamin Franklin was. “Yeah, he’s the guy that did that stuff back then.” Um… well OK then. In reality Benjamin did more than just “that stuff back then.” For instance did you know that Benjamin was the inventor of the first bifocals, the glass armonica (a musical instrument) and even created one of the first pairs of swimming fins! That's just the tip of the iceberg for Benjamin Franklin.


Ben was born on January 17, 1706 in in a small town called Boston. Ben’s mother was Abiah Folger, the second wife of Josiah. Ben’s family was very poor and could only afford to send him to school for one year. Benjamin started his career at age 12 when he apprenticed his older brother composing pamphlets and selling them on the streets. This sparked a common theme in his family when at age 15 his brother started The New England Courant which was the third paper to be printed in Boston but was called the ¨first newspaper.¨ Benjamin apprenticed there but the longer he worked, the more he wanted to write his own paper but he knew that is brother would never let him go. In these times, smallpox was a very deadly disease and many people thought that vaccination would help. However the Franklin's had a different opinion. They thought that vaccinations would make you sicker. For such a smart guy he made some pretty dimwitted decisions.


In 1728 Franklin started a printing shop. It became highly successful producing a large range of materials. In 1729 Franklin became the owner of the Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin achieved fame and financial success with “Poor Richard’s Almanack.”


When you first heard the name Benjamin Franklin in this article, what did that make you think of? I’m guessing some of you thought that he’s that guy that got hit by lightning. And in fact he is. In 1748 Franklin’s business had become so successful that he could retire and fulfill his longtime interest of science. In the 1740’s he conducted experiments that mainly focused on the understanding of electricity. In 1752, Franklin tested his famous kite experiment and proved that lightning is in fact electricity.

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