Happy Birthday to Benjamin Franklin! A common misconception many Americans make is that Mr. Franklin was a President of the US. Though it seems like it, and we have his face on some of our money, that is not true! He was never a President… just a typical Joe Schmo like you and me! Okay… perhaps not quite so typical as we are… In honor of this Renaissance Man’s birthday here are ten fun facts about this founding father!
1. Franklin began the first volunteer fire brigade in America! He was a classic Dogooder, that Ben Franklin.
2. He was mainly self-taught. Franklin only went through two years of formal schooling! And yet, he conducted several science experiments with electricity, spoke 5 languages fluently and was a newspaper columnist at one point. Makes you feel like a lazy, useless human, doesn’t it?
3. Not only did Benjamin Franklin invent the first volunteer fire brigade in America (or the colonies, at that time), but he also created the first insurance company… because, you know, fire.
4. My brothers would die of laughing at this, but Benjamin Franklin also wrote a scientific essay called “Fart Proudly” – a scientific study of passing gas. Mind blown.
5. Benjamin Franklin took “air baths” every day. What is an air bath, you ask? Well! It’s when you hang out at home, reading, drinking tea, or what have you… absolutely butt naked. Nice visuals of Mr. Franklin, eh?
6. Hi signature glasses look? Well, did you know that Benjamin Franklin invented the bifocal in 1784? That whole he went to two years of school and I went through eighteen is really starting to bug me.
7. He was inducted in both the Swimming Hall of Fame (even invented a pair of fins) and in the 90s he was inducted to the Chess Hall of Fame. Man of many talents, indeed.
8. Franklin fathered three children – two legitimately by his wife, and one through an affair. His son William, the child had out of wedlock, and Franklin were quite close throughout Williams life… until the American Revolution! William chose to be loyal to England, and eventually fled to London.
9. In 1785, Benjamin Franklin was considered the richest person in the United States. (As if you needed any more reasons to be jealous.)
10. His last words? “A dying man can do nothing easy.” Franklin passed away in 1790 at the age of 84. Approximately 20,000 people attended his funeral. Now that’s popularity, people! Happy Birthday to Mr. Benjamin Franklin.