Cheney Free Press -


By Luella Dow

Benjamin Franklin did more than researching electricity, signing Decelaration of Independence

Of Cabbages and Kings


My stingy dictionary tells me Benjamin Franklin was an American statesman and an inventor. And then it stopped. Surely there was much more to tell about him, much more than a few words. Joe Wurzelbacker is known as Joe for and Joe the Plumber. He has put together 10 of Benjamin Franklin’s little-known accomplishments. I am proud to pass them on to you.

Benjamin Franklin was born Jan. 17, 1700. He learned to swim at the age of 19. He jumped into a river and swam about 3.5 miles. This effort won him the honor of introduction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Mr. Franklin owned a printing company and a newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette. He also printed all of the paper money for Pennsylvania and Delaware. People called his $100 bill a “Benjamin” in his honor.

We all enjoy and take for granted Ben Franklin’s research in electricity. How many of us have realized that he had to invent the names for each part as he put them together? Joe the plumber offers a few suggestions: battery, brushed, charged, conductor and electrician. Thanks, Joe.

Mr. Franklin organized the first volunteer fire company for America in 1736. He called it the Union Fire Company. The folks on the street soon labeled it Franklin’s Bucket Brigade.

Remember Franklin’s lightning rod? Did you know he invented bifocal glasses? And thanks to this man, many a home is still warmed by a Franklin stove. How about the glass harmonica? Franklin pronounced it “armonica.” We’re talking 1769 now.

I like to think Benjamin Franklin had a heart for short people. He invented the stepstool, a mechanical arm for reaching books on high shelves. For his own comfort he invented a pulley system to lock and unlock his bedroom door without getting out of bed. Did this man ever sleep?

Aside from his inventions, Benjamin Franklin spent a great deal of energy and time in helping to bring the United States of America to life. His outstanding intelligence and insight, aligned with that of other brave men, guided our country to a strong beginning and clear paths for the future. His signature is on the Declaration of Independence.

Here is one of his famous quotes, “Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin did not spend idle time tiptoeing around the truth.

After a lifetime of giving to others, Benjamin Franklin died April 17, 1790. Our country desperately needs another Benjamin Franklin. Somewhere, somehow, is there a modern-day Benjamin Franklin?

Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at


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