The Life of Ben Franklin

Timeline created by stickman1668
  • Franklin is born.

    Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston on January 17, 1706, the fifteenth child of his father Josiah and eighth child of his mother Abiah. Josiah Franklin earned his living as a candle and soap maker
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    The Life of Ben Franklin

  • Begins Apprenticeship.

    After a failed cutlery apprenticeship, 12-year-old Ben was apprenticed to his brother James to learn the printer’s trade. Ben’s quick mind and strong body were well suited to the trade, and he eventually became one of the most influential printers and publishers in the colonies.
  • Goes to London.

    Believing he was being bankrolled by Pennsylvania’s governor, Franklin sailed to England aboard the London Hope. In London, his hopes were dashed when Gov. Keith’s support disappeared. Franklin found work in the printing trade and enjoyed the intellectual and artistic pleasures of London until he returned to Philadelphia in 1726.
  • Published the Pennsylvania Gazette

    Franklin and a partner bought the newspaper in 1729. A year later the partner resigned, leaving Franklin as the sole publisher. Under Franklin’s leadership, the Pennsylvania Gazette became one of the major newspapers for the colonies. A hundred years after Franklin’s death, Cyrus Curtis purchased the Gazette and turned it into the Saturday Evening Post.
  • Publishes Poor Richard's Almanac.

    Franklin’s highly popular Poor Richard: An Almanack is best known today for it’s witty sayings and sage advice. However, it is a little known fact that Captain John Paul Jones, a friend of Franklin, christened his battleship the Bonhomme Richard (French for "Poor Richard")
  • Conducts the famous Kite Esperiment.

    Franklin’s well-known kite experiment helped prove that electricity existed in storm clouds. Electricity traveled down the kite string to a key that was attached to it. Franklin was able to make a spark jump between his knuckle and the key, while his son William flew the kite.
  • Drew "Join or Die" Cartoon

    On May 9, 1754, the Gazette published what is believed to be the first American cartoon–a snake cut into 8 pieces that were labeled with the names of the colonies and the caption "Join or Die." Most scholars believe that Franklin drew the cartoon himself in an effort to encourage cooperation among the American colonies.
  • Became Minister for France.

    In 1776 Congress sent Franklin to France to seek financial aid for the colonies’ war against Britain. Franklin’s procurement of French financial and military aid for the colonies was critical to America’s eventually winning the war against England.
  • Invents Bifocals.

    While living in Paris, Franklin hated having to change constantly from reading glasses to distance glasses. He directed an optician to cut two pairs of lenses horizontally in half and mount them in a new frame, with the reading lens at the bottom and the distance lens at the top–Voila, Bifocals!
  • Franklin dies in Philadelphia.

  • Becomes President of abolitionist society.

    At the age of 81, Franklin became the president of the Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage. The society, founded by Philadelphia Quakers was one of the first abolitionist organizations in the colonies.