Inventors are unsung heroes, or at least the ones in the past were. The one that I admire most is Benjamin Franklin. He created things that made life more practical. If there was a way something could be done better, faster, easier, that’s where his inventions were focused. Here are some of the few inventions for which he gets the credit. Thank you Benjamin Franklin. I am grateful.
As far as electricity, well, he invented the lightning rod. He designed long metallic poles that attach to the highest part of a building. When lightning struck, it aimed for the rod. A metal wire or cable ran from the rod, down the side of the building and into the ground, thus preventing the destruction of buildings from lightning.
This invention and others such as bifocals are his well-known inventions, but did you know that Benjamin Franklin also created other things that helped make life easier, for example, the odometer?
An odometer is an instrument for measuring distance traveled, as by an automobile. As a postmaster, Franklin wanted to make sure he was being efficient in his job, so for this purpose, he devised an odometer that attached to his carriage. By counting the rotations of the wheels, it calculated the distance the carriage traveled.
Franklin also invented an extension arm. While in Philadelphia, Ben Franklin helped to open a library. To help him reach books on upper shelves that were out of his reach, he reached with the extension arm that had two “fingers” attached to the end of a long piece of wood or pipe. The fingers could open or close by pulling on a cord that manipulated them. Similar devices are still used today.
Another very cool invention was the glass armonica, not to be confused with a harmonica. The idea came to him after watching a concert where men were playing music using glasses which were filled with varying amounts of liquid. The men made sweet tones by wetting their finger and rubbing them on each of the glasses rim. Being ever so practical and a lover of music, Benjamin Franklin worked to make this kind of music with his similar, but easier to play instrument.
Benjamin’s instrument worked by using various sized bowls that had holes in them which were mounted on iron spindles which were turned with a foot pedal, much like some sewing machines were back then. The bowls turned and the musician wet his fingers on a nearby container that held water. Franklin said, “Its tones are incomparably sweet beyond any other; and they may be swelled and softened at pleasure by stronger or weaker pressure of the finger.”
There are probably many more inventions of practicality invented by Benjamin Franklin. As I read about his life, I’m inspired to think more. In my busyness, I ask myself, “Is there a better way to do life, to live life?” I wonder if this was an everyday motto for Benjamin Franklin?