Benjamin Franklin's Inventions and Discoveries



Ben Franklin

Armonica – originally called a Glassychord (glass harmonica) musical instrument, Franklin changed name to armonica - based on the Italian word armonia for harmony

Bifocals – originally called Double Spectacles, for both distance sight and reading

Cooling by evaporation – experiments showing how skin temperature is cooled when water evaporates

Electrical charge – came up with the electrical terms: battery, charge, negative, positive

Franklin planner – calendar to track his tasks and to modify his behaviors

Franklin Stove – originally called a Pennsylvania Fireplace, fireplace made of cast iron to efficiently warm a room using wood (compared to a standard brick fireplace, the Franklin Stove generated more heat, using less wood)

Gulf Stream – discovered the flow of warm water stream in the Atlantic Ocean

Kite sailing – pulled by a kite while floating in a river

Lightning is electricity (first to propose theory) – kite experiment collected electrical charge from storm clouds (not direct lightning strikes)

Lightning bells – device to detect lightning

Lightning rod – pass lightning safely to the ground to prevent fires

Long arm – pole with claw at end to reach books

Paper money counterfeit deterrent – added unique impressions of tree leaves to paper money

Political cartoon – considered the first person to create cartoons based on political situations

Rocking chair with fan - rocking in the chair propels fan

Sea anchor – method to stabilize a ship during rough seas

Ship compartments – reduce the chance of sinking

Step chair – chair with flip up steps to reach books

Storm movement – proposed that storm direction can be different than the direction of the storm's winds (for example: a hurricane moves in one direction while the winds move in a circular pattern)

Swim fins – for hands and feet made of wood


Franklin never patented any of his inventions:

"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."


Famous Women Inventors | Famous Black Inventors | More Famous Inventors |