Term Paper: Inventions Become so Commonplace That People Forget

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¶ … inventions become so commonplace that people forget the innovator who created this product. This is the case with Benjamin Franklin. He was extremely curious, always asking more questions than anyone could answer. He wanted to know the how and the why of the most confusing and common phenomena. Today, we still find many uses for Benjamin Franklin's inventions and discoveries.

Franklin is known as one of the most practical inventors in history (PBS). He studied and conducted research in physics, meteorology, natural history, geology, chemistry, mechanics, agriculture, medicine, and mathematics. Some of his inventions, such as bifocal glasses, are well-known, but there are many rare ones as well. Of the numerous inventions Franklin created, he did not patent a single one. Franklin believed that "that as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously" (van Doren 242).

Franklin loved the water and swimming. When he was growing up in Boston, he often dreamed of becoming a sailor. Wanting to increase his swimming speed in the water, he devised swim fins, or what he called pallets, for his hands. He explains in one of his personal letters: "When I was a boy, I made two oval palettes, each about ten inches long, and six broad, with a hole for the thumb, in order to retain it fast in the palm of my hand. They much resembled a painter's palletes. In swimming I pushed the edges of these forward, and I struck the water with their flat surfaces as I drew them back. I remember I swam faster by means of these pallets, but they fatigued my wrists" (Goodman 46) He also tried putting sandals on the soles of his feet, but he was not satisfied with the way they worked.

Now, especially with the fuel prices rising, are beginning to use woodstoves for their homes. Many people are buying Franklin stoves and do not even give second thought that these are actually "Ben Franklin" stoves. In 1742, he wanted to build small stove that would use less wood and deliver more heat and modified and built a stove that he claimed would be more efficient. He marketed it with pamphlets that described the many advantages of the "Pennsylvania Fireplace." He discussed their methods of construction and operation, suggesting that "you do not lose the pleasing sight nor use of the fire, as in the Dutch stoves, but may boil the tea-kettle, warm the flat irons, heat heaters, keep warm a dish of victuals by setting it on the top" (Franklin 116). Franklin also thought a great deal about construction of chimneys. In a paper addressed to Jan Ingenhousz, August 28, 1785, he answered the question: "What is it then which makes a 'smoky chimney'; that is, a chimney which, instead of conveying up all the smoke, discharges a part of it into the room, offending the eyes and damaging the furniture?" In this analysis of "The Causes and Cure of Smoky Chimneys" nine causes are discussed and remedies offered. (Franklin 116),

The lightening rod is one of Franklin's better known inventions. Before his invention, lightning destroyed… [END OF PREVIEW]

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