What is the one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) is famous for numerous scientific, technical and political contributions. One can decide for oneself which are the best three or the best one.
1. He invented the lightning rod which today appears on may on houses and tall structures.
2. In music, he invented the instrument known as a glass armonica. (The instrument and spelling are different from harmonica.)
3. He invented what we now call the Franklin stove, The stove is a metal-lined fireplace with a deign altering the air flow to provide more heat to a run.
4. Franklin invented bifocal glasses. It is likely that he invented them because he needed them.
5. Oddly, he also invented a flexible urinary catheter, but it is not known if he needed it.
6. He invented an odometer for a horse carriage which would have worked on cars, but he did not have one.
6. His scientific investigations of Temperature's effect on electrical conductivity discovering that some bodies which did not conduct electricity well at low temperature became good conductors at high temperatures.
7. Franklin studied electric charge for years and was the first to label them as positive and negative respectively.
8. He was the first person to put forwards the principle of conservation of charge.
9. Franklin created and published the famous Poor Richard's Almanack.
10. The US Declaration received his contributions. He was part of the committee to write the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson wrote it initially, but some of the final version has changes from Franklin.
11. His success in politics, which ranks him as one of the Founding Fathers, is evident from the fact that he was a signer of the of the foundational documents creating the United States. He signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
12. Benjamin Franklin was the sixth President of Pennsylvania, 1785-1788
13. Franklin showed that lightning was the same stuff as he called electricity and with which he had done his experiments on positive and negative charge. He had, for instance, on his house a metal strutter on the roof which would get charged when a storm was approaching and cause a bell to ring inside.
The Kite Story: Showing lightning was electricity.
The story of flying a kite in a storm; that is not as popularly reported. Standing outside in a thunderstorm with a kite will get a person electrocuted. Franklin wrote of this experiment but may not have done it. If he did do it, he describes how it might work in such a way that he is electrically insulated and safe. Franklin never claimed to have used that method to extract electricity from a storm, but he might have since we know that he wrote about how it could be done. Besides, he had hit other lightning rods and bell ringer that were part of his experiments and got the same information that lightning was electricity without flying the kite.