Who Knew…Ben Franklin was printing “Benjamin’s”?

What’s Wally Reading? The Autobiography of Ben Franklin
 xBen FRanklin book coverIt’s true…… I’ve got a man crush on Ben Franklin.
Probably had it my whole life. Wasn’t sure what I was
really feeling. I’m ready now to share my secret.
 As a young kid growing up in Camden, New Jersey it
was a short fifty cent bus ride over the Ben Franklin
Bridge to visit the Ben Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.  An amazing  museum of inventions, innovationsand technology from colonial times to the modern era.  Or as modern has the world was in 1965.
 Where did I go to school? I went to Ben Franklin Elementary School.  Seeing a trend here?
A few blocks down from the Franklin Institute was Independence Hall, where the founders met to decide to secede from England.  It’s where the Declaration of Independence was signed.  And who wrote the Declaration of Independence….Ben Franklin. How could I help but be Ben Franklin obsessed?
You can get a real feel of who this Ben Franklin fellow was from the epitaph he wrote for his own tombstone:
“The body of B. Franklin, Printer.  Like the cover of
an old book, its contents torn out and
stripped of its lettering & gilding lies here. Food
for worms. But the work shall not be lost. For
it will as he believed appear once more in a new an
d more elegant edition corrected and
improved by the Author.”

xBen Franklin Epitaph

 It was not until recently reading his Autobiography that I truly came to admit my man crush.  Franklin’s autobiography is considered to be the first American book to be taken seriously by Europeans as literature.
 Ben Franklin referred to himself simply as a “printer”.  Seems simple enough until you ask the question “what did Ben Franklin print”?
In 1736 Ben Franklin was chosen as Clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly, a position he held until 1751.  During those 15 years he was responsible for documenting all activities of the Pennsylvania Assembly.  He also had the contract to print and distribute those documents across Pennsylvania.  Nice government contract!
As Clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly Ben Franklinhad an inside seat at every governmental meeting in Pennsylvania. This unique perspective provided an editorial insight that made The Pennsylvania Gazette the most widely read newspaper in Pennsylvania.  Ben Franklin was owner and the publisher of the newspaper!
As the dearly departed Billy Mays would say….but wait…there’s more!  Back in the pre-revolutionary days, each colony printed its own money.  And who held the sole contract to print currency for Pennsylvania?  You guessed it, Ben Franklin had a license to print money,  Benjamin printed“Benjamins”!
xBen Franklin $100 Bill
Ben Franklin was many things well beyond being just
a printer.  He was also an inventor, an
author and a statesman.  Interestingly, he may also
have been the first home inspector
in America!
 Franklin was fascinated by the indoor air quality in homes and buildings.  His study of the subject concluded with the thought:
 “I considered fresh air an enemy and closed with extreme care every crack and crevice in the room I inhabited.  Experience has convinced me of my error…. I am certain that no air is so unwholesome as the air in a closed room that has been often breathed and not changed.”

xBen Franklin Beer-Water Quote

This fascination with fresh air Franklin led to his daily “air bath”.  He believed it healthy to allow his body to breath “With this view I rise early almost every morning, and sit in my chamber without any clothes whatever, half an hour or an hour, according to the season, either reading or writing.”
How might Mr. Franklin have kept warm while air bathing during frigid Philadelphia winters?  The desire to keep heat in his room rather than escape up the fire-place flue led Ben to the invention of the “Franklin Stove”. It had a hollow baffle near the rear of the stove and an inverted siphon to drawthe fires heat around the baffle.
Don’t’ freak out, but I’ve got a Franklin Stove in my living room and yes I’m an avid air bather.
Reading “The Autobiography of Ben Franklin” has not changed my life, but it has brought me clarity to some of my quirks.  Among them I am frugal, much like Ben Franklin. He would have pleased that download his book for free from Amazon and read it on my Kindle!
If Franklin’s epitaph Ben Franklin-Printer is fitting, how you do feel about Jeff Bezos-Bookseller?
Share your thoughts with me wally@MrHomeInspection.com