Enjoy This Lightning Round of Benjamin Franklin Trivia

It's June 10th, largely recognized as the anniversary of the day Benjamin Franklin flew a kite in a lightning storm and demonstrated the electrical nature of lightning.  Test yourself with this lightning round of Benjamin Franklin trivia.


What Are Some of the Electrical Terms Franklin Invented? # When conducting his research, experiments, and general pontificating on lightning and electricity, Franklin was entering into some pretty uncharted territory. In fact, it was so uncharted that he had to invent his own words just to describe what the heck was going on. In a letter to a friend, he once wrote "I feel a Want of Terms here and doubt much whether I shall be able to make this intelligible." Many believe he invented in the neighborhood of 25 words including battery, charge, conductor, and electrician. He also is believed to be the first to apply the terms plus, minus, positive and negative to this field.

What Musical Instrument Did Franklin Invent? # Franklin wearing his fur cap. The French thought he was a genius of the New World, just on the rustic side. He invented the glass armonica around 1761. It was so popular that Beethoven and Mozart composed music to be played on it. Franklin hired a glassmaker to produce the instrument, which was composed of 37 glass hemispheres with a rod running through a hole positioned at the top of each hemisphere to hold them all together. Each was marked with a different color to mark the notes. A foot treadle made the instrument rotate, and it was played by passing the fingers over the glass hemispheres.

The instrument became so popular that thousands were sold. Even Marie Antoinette bought one and took lessons to learn to play it. Although the glass armonica fell out of favor for a long time, its popularity is rising again. The instrument was used in the score of the Game of Thrones finale in Season Six. In addition to his invention, Franklin also played the viola de gamba, harp, violin, whistle and guitar.


What Other Things Did Franklin Invent? # Benjamin Franklin was always concerned with fires, even setting up what is believed to be the first volunteer fire company in 1736 and penning a number of articles on fire prevention. And lightning was one of the biggest fire culprits of the time. So Franklin invented the lightning rod which would attract the bolt of lightning and then send its charge directly to the ground, thus avoiding people's homes and the homes' inhabitants. He called this his most important invention.  The lightning rod is pretty impressive we guess, but all Ben Franklin aficionados know that the guy invented about 800 other things too.   He invented bifocals because he needed them. Because of this invention, people started wearing bifocals in the 1780s.  He also invented the Franklin stove. Until his invention, people only warmed their homes by using a fireplace.  He was 11 years old when he invented the first version of swim fins, worn on the hands. In 1968, he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame for this invention. In the medical field, he invented the flexible tube catheter because an older brother of his suffered from kidney disease. His lifelong curiosity also led to the invention of the first odometer, which could be attached to the wheels of a carriage to determine the distance it traveled.

Did Franklin Invent Daylight Saving Time? # Yes, Franklin really did fly a kite during a thunderstorm. He wasn't stupid though. He stood under shelter and took appropriate steps to ground himself, so he wouldn't get electrocuted. Not really but he certainly suggested it. Franklin had written a letter in 1784 to the Journal of Paris, reportedly making fun of Paris society for sleeping in late during the day and staying up all hours of the night. In his letter, he suggested that families in Paris could save an enormous amount of money spent for tallow and candles by getting up at an earlier hour. In World War I, Daylight Saving Time was introduced in the countries of Germany and Austria in 1916, followed by Great Britain and the United States. The aim was to save money and lower fuel consumption, just as Franklin suggested.

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