Tag Archives: Benjamin Franklin

How Ben Franklin Discovered Things for Himself

Exceeded my writing goal  of 1,700 words today with NaNoWriMo.  Today, another Benjamin Franklin story on scientific inquiry from a century-old student’s reader.  I hope you enjoy the read and pass it on.  RB

Benjamin Franklin thought that ants knew how to tell things to one another. He thought that they talked by some kind of signs. When an ant has found a dead fly too big for him to drag away, he will run off and get some other ants to help him.

Franklin thought that ants have some way of telling other ants that there is work to do. One day he found some ants eating molasses out of a little jar in a closet. He shook them out. Then he tied a string to the jar, and hung it on a nail in the ceiling. But he had not got all the ants out of the jar. One little ant liked sweet things so well that he stayed in the jar, and kept on eating like a greedy boy.

At last when this greedy ant had eaten all that he could, he started to go home. Franklin saw him climb over the rim of the jar. Then the ant ran down the outside of the jar. But when he got to the bottom, he did not find any shelf there. He went all round the jar. There was no way to get down to the floor. The ant ran this way and that way, but he could not get down. At last the greedy ant thought he would see if he could go up. He climbed up the string to the ceiling. Then he went down the wall. He came to his own hole at last, no doubt. Half an hour later, after he got hungry again Franklin saw a swarm down the string. in a line, one after another, and into the jar. Do you think that the greedy ant told the other ants about the jar? Did he tell them by speaking, or by signs that he made with his feelers ? Perhaps, if you watch two ants when they meet, you will see that they touch their feelers to¬gether, as if they said “Good-morning!”

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans   By Samuel Eggleston American Book Co  1893  Digitized by Google   Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, Franklin Asks the Sunshine Something   Rita Bay

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Benjamin Franklin: His Own Teacher

While I’m writing a novel of 50,000 words in November with NaNoWriMo, I want to share stories written to educate American children over a century ago.  The first stories are about the adventures of Benjamin Franklin, one of the most brilliant inventors, statesmen, and patriots of the 18th century. 

Benjamin Franklin

Few people ever knew so many things as Benjamin Frank­lin. Men said, ” How did he ever learn so many things ?  For he had been a poor boy who had to work for a living. He could not go to school at all after he was ten years old.

His father made soap and candles. Little Ben Franklin had to cut wicks for the candles. He also filled the candle molds. And he sold soap and candles, and ran on errands. But when he was not at work he spent his time in reading good books. What little money he got he used to buy books with.

He read the old story of ” Pilgrim’s Progress,” and liked it so well that he bought all the other stories by the same man. But as he wanted more books, and had not money to buy them, he sold all of these books. The next he bought were some little history books. These were made to sell very cheap, and they were sold by peddlers. He man­aged to buy forty or fifty of these little books of history.

Another way that he had of learning was by seeing things with his own eyes. His father took him to see carpenters at work with their saws and planes. He also saw masons laying bricks. And he went to see men making brass and copper kettles. And he saw a man with a turning lathe making the round legs of chairs. Other men were at work making knives. Some things people learn out of books, and some things they have to see for them-selves.

As he was fond of books, Ben’s father thought that it would be a good plan to send him to learn to print them. So the boy went to work in his brother’s printing office. Here he passed his spare time in reading. He borrowed some books out of the stores where books were sold. He would sit up a great part of the night sometimes to read one of these books. He wished to return it when the book-store opened in the morning. One man who had many books lent to Ben such of his books as he wanted.

It was part of the bargain that Ben’s brother should pay his board. The boy offered to board himself if his brother would give him half what it cost to pay for his board. His brother was glad to do this, and Ben saved part of the money and bought books with it. He was a healthy boy, and it did not hurt him to live mostly on bread and but­ter. Sometimes he bought a little pie or a handful of raisins.

Long before he was a man, people said, ” How much the boy knows! ” This was because —He did not waste his time.

He read good books.

He saw things for himself.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, Check out how young Ben Franklin discovered things for himself. Rita Bay

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Benjamin Franklin’s Quips

Benjamin Franklin

Call for unity & First Political Cartoon

     Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was called the “The First American” because he was such a strong advocate for uniting the colonies.  He created the first political cartoon and published it in his newspaper.  Franklin was a multi-tasker.  He was an author, ambassador, diplomat, statesman, printer, scientist, and postmaster.  He invented bifocals, the Franklin stove, an odometer for carriages, daylight savings time and the lightning rod.  He also started the first public library in the US and the first fire department.  He published an almanac that included loads of data, advice, and witty wisdom.  Some of his witticisms are listed below with a few of his letters.

Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.           Letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy [Nov. 13, 1789]

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.

He that lieth down with Dogs, shall rise up with Fleas.

Well done is better than well said.

Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.

Love your Neighbour; yet don’t pull down your Hedge.

Glass,China, and Reputation, are easily crack’d, and never well mended.

The sleeping Fox catches no poultry. Up! up!

If you would not be forgotten
As soon as you are dead and rotten,
Either write things worthy reading,
Or do things worth the writing.

Tomorrow:  The Language of Flowers   Rita Bay

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