Wikijunior:Famous Inventors/Inventors in Everyday Uses/Benjamin Franklin
- 1 When, Where, and to whom was he born?
- 2 What was his childhood like?
- 3 Why did this person become interested in science?
- 4 Where did this person go to school?
- 5 What problem did he uncover that needed solving?
- 6 What solutions had already been tried that did not solve the problem? Why wasn't it working?
- 7 What did this person invent that solved the problem?
- 8 How did the invention solve the problem?
- 9 How has this inventor changed people and the world?
- 10 What happened to this inventor in the end?
- 11 If you could ask this inventor one question, what would you ask?
- 12 If you could bring this inventor to today and tell him or her one thing, what would you tell him about the effect of his or her invention?
- 13 References
When, Where, and to whom was he born?
Benjamin Franklin was born on Milk Street in Boston on January 17, 1706 and baptized at Old South Meeting House. His father, Josiah Franklin, was a tallow chandler, a maker of candles and soap, whose second wife, Abiah Folger, was Benjamin's mother.
What was his childhood like?
Benjamin was the fifteenth child and youngest son.
Why did this person become interested in science?
At the age of forty-two, Benjamin retired from printing to explore his other interests including inventing new and exciting things.
Where did this person go to school?
Franklin's father intended for Ben to become a clergyman but he didn't have enough money for years of schooling that would require. Because of Ben's love of his books, he was apprenticed to one of older brothers, James, who was a printer. He attended Boston Latin School but did not graduate; he continued his education through reading lots and lots of books at home.
What problem did he uncover that needed solving?
Lots of problems. He had a very busy life and came up with lots of problems that needed fixing. One thing that always fascinated Benjamin was electricity. One stormy night his son, William, and Benjamin were experimenting with lightning. At this time people thought that lightning was a mysterious force that was a punishment from God; however, he wanted to prove that lightning is a form of electricity.
Benjamin attached a pointed metal piece on the top of his kite and a metal key to the base of the string. Lightning struck the kite and traveled down the kite straight to the key. When he touched the key with his knuckle, there was a spark! It's a good thing he didn't electrocute himself (although he was knocked unconscious twice before when experimenting with electricity, so don't try this at home!), but he did prove that lightning is electricity!
What solutions had already been tried that did not solve the problem? Why wasn't it working?
What did this person invent that solved the problem?
After his experiments with electricity, he invented the lightning rod to protect buildings and ships from lightning damage.
He also invented swim fins, bifocal glasses, a glass armonica, watertight bulkheads for ships, the lightning rod, an odometer and a new type of wood stove (called the Franklin stove).
How did the invention solve the problem?
How has this inventor changed people and the world?
Buildings and ships are now protected from lightning. Lightning strikes used to cause lots of fires that destroyed buildings and killed people. Now this happens much less.
What happened to this inventor in the end?
Franklin died on April 17, 1790, at age 84. His funeral was attended by approximately 20,000 people.