Benjamin Franklin was a man of many talents.
He was a statesman Perhaps only George Washington did more than Ben Franklin did to free the United States from England.
He wasa scientist. For one thing, Ben discovered the nature of lightning.
He was an inventor. Thanks to him, we have lightning rods and bifocal glasses.
He was an author. He wrote a famous book about hisexperiences. And people still use the phrase “ Haste makes waste,” and other sayings that Ben made popular.
Ben did much more in his long life. He began America’s first general hospital. He startedone of America’s first libraries. He helped create the United States Postal Service.
Ben did so much that some people claimed he had magical powers. But he was a flesh-and-blood person. In fact, hislife was often sad. As a youth he ran away from home because he was beaten. Later, he lived far away from his wife. And a fight over politics came between Ben and his son.
This is the true story ofBen Franklin—statesman, scientist, inventor, author, and human being.
CATCHING LIGHTNING A BOTTLE
On a June day in 1752, a storm approached Philadelphia. The sky grew dark. As thunderrattled the windows, people ran inside. But in a house at the corner of Race and Second streets, two people were getting ready to go outside. One was forty-six-years-old Benjamin Franklin. The otherwas Ben’s twenty-one-years-old son William.
Billy picked up a strange-looking kite. His father had made it for just such a stormy day as this. A metal wire stuck out of the top of the kite. A metalhouse key was tied to the end of the kite string. Ben grabbed a jar and put it under his coat. The pair dashed through the rain with the kite and the bottle. They stopped when they came to a field.Billy ran across the field three times trying to fly the kite. Finally, the wind did its work. Up soared the kite, higher and higher. Soon it was just a speck in the clouds. Ben took the kite string...