Happy 300th birthday, Ben

By the numbers - January 2006


 
 
 

It was 218 years ago that Benjamin Franklin was asked, at the close of the Constitutional Convention, what kind of government we would have. "A republic, if you can keep it," he said. It hasn’t been easy, but we have kept what he helped to give us. And we might stop to thank him—statesman, diplomat, writer, scientist, inventor, musician, philosopher—each January, when his birthday, which should be a national holiday, occurs.

17 The day in January on which Ben Franklin’s birthday falls.

300 Birthday candles on his cake this time.

9 Number of stitches, he reminded us, that a stitch in time saves.

1 Bit of advice to fellow parents: "Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society."

12 Age at which he became an apprentice printer.

70 Age at which he signed the Declaration of Independence.

81 Age at which he signed the U.S. Constitution.

100 Dollar bill, on which his portrait is placed.

18 Towns and counties named after him in the United States.

1 Mountain range named after him (the Franklin Mountains near El Paso, Texas).

1 Moon crater named after him.

1 Hour we set our clocks ahead to keep up with Daylight Saving Time, which he invented—along with bifocals, the lightning rod, the glass harmonica, the odometer, fire insurance, voluntary fire departments, the catheter, swim fins and, with a few friends, the United States of America.

Zay N. Smith

 
 







 
 
 
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