1.) Born on January 17th 1706, he was 84 when he died in 1790. At that time the average life expectancy was 37. This would be the equivalent to someone today dying at the age of 125.
2.) At the age of 20 he listed 13 virtues that everyone should live by:
3.) Along with the lightning rod, spectacles, the oven, and the battery, he also invented the odometer. As a postmaster, he wanted to provide fast and efficient service so he created an odometer and attached it to his carriage. Although he invented all of these things he never held a patent on any of them. He believed that scientific discoveries should be shared with everyone.
4.) He was a vegetarian for most of the younger years of his life.
5.) Approximately 20,000 people attended his funeral on April 17, 1790. This was an unheard of turnout in those days.
6.) He believed that debt was a form of slavery. He believed that living without it gave a man a freedom of spirit. He often spoke of his idea to start a society called The Society of the Free and Easy, meaning free of debt and easy in spirit.
7.) He formed the first public lending library in America.
8.) After dropping out of school at the age of 10, he became a printing apprentice to his brother James at the age of 12. At the age of 17, Franklin ran away from his apprenticeship becoming a fugitive. He ended up in Philadelphia working at several printer shops around town.
9.) His father, Josiah Franklin, had two wives and 17 children. Benjamin was his father’s 15th child and last son
10.) He proposed to his wife Deborah Reed when he was 17 years old and she was 15. Because she was once married and divorced, Franklin was forced to enter into a common law marriage with her.
11.) His second son, Francis Folger Franklin, died of smallpox at the age of 4.
12.) He was an avid chess player. He was inducted into the United States Chess Hall of Fame in 1999.
13.) He created the first volunteer fire department in Pennsylvania in 1736 calling it the Union Fire Company.
14.) Although he was called “Doctor” throughout most of his life, he never went to college. He received honorary doctorate degrees from Harvard and Yale in 1753.
15.) When the Second Continental Congress created the United States Post Office in 1775, it named Franklin the first United States Postmaster General.
16.) Counties in at least 16 different states are named after him.
17.) He first saw his work in print at the age of 16 when he began printing letters in his brother’s newspaper under the alias of a woman names Silence Dogood. In the letters, she gave advice and was very critical of the world around her. Finally after publishing 16 letters, Franklin admitted to his brother that it was in fact him writing the letters.