Interesting Facts About Ben Franklin: He Wrote An Essay “Fart Proudly”

A writer, civic leader, inventor, diplomat and top political thinker of his time, Benjamin Franklin was one of America’s founding fathers. And although most Americans know about his daredevil electrical experiment where he attached a metal key to a kite and flew it in a thunderstorm, there are many other reasons that Benjamin Franklin is known as one of the country’s most influential figures.
He is renowned for his discoveries and theories on electricity and is credited with inventing swimming fins, bifocals, the lightning rod, a flexible catheter, and many other inventions we use today.
Franklin was born in 1706, and was a middle child. His parents, who were soap and candle makers, could not afford to send him to school longer than two years so, by the age of 10, young Benjamin began working alongside his father. By the age of 12, he had became his brother James’s apprentice at a printing shop. Franklin did not let his lack of access to a formal education prevent him from becoming one of America’s most influential and famous figures.
Few of the American Founding Fathers were as accomplished as Benjamin Franklin. Though he was never president, he was instrumental in the creation of the United States, and there was seemingly nothing that this true renaissance man couldn’t do. Here are some fun facts about the man that helped shape our nation’s history.
1. Since 1928 Franklin’s portrait has been in the $100 bill. Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton are the only non-president appearing in US dollar bills.
2. Benjamin Franklin wrote “Fart Proudly”, a scientific essay about farts.
3. Benjamin Franklin published a paper saying America’s population growth was so fast, it would surpass Britain in 100 years. This alarmed British leadership and was a factor in their oppression of the colonies.
4. When Benjamin Franklin invented his own harmonica, it became so popular in Europe that Mozart and Beethoven composed music for it.
5. Franklin had a rather robust sex life and may have fathered as many as 15 illegitimate children. In his essay “Advice on the Choice of a Mistress,” he advised that young men should choose older women as lovers because, among other things, they would be “grateful” for the attention. He also noted that one doesn’t notice a woman’s age in the dark.
Franklin was married for 38 years, but he had many mistresses. Some of his female companions were just friends while others were sexual partners. He spoke of his frequent dalliances in his autobiography, writing: “the hard-to-be-governed passion of my youth had hurried me frequently into intrigues with low women that fell in my way.” And his sexual appetites didn’t wane with middle age – Franklin was often accompanied by younger women from age 50 and on.
6. Franklin thought that nudity was good for one’s health, so he regularly took “air baths” to ward off illness. He also dispelled the theory that cold weather contributed to people catching the common cold, and instead believed that people got sick in winter because they were cooped up in close quarters that made it easier for germs to fester and multiply. To increase the air circulation in his home, he’d open up the windows and sit in front of them without any clothes on.
7. Franklin lived in a four-story Georgian house at 36 Craven Street in London from 1757 to 1775. While the house was being converted into a museum in 1998, a construction worker found something really strange in the basement – a human thigh bone sticking out of the dirt floor. The police were called to investigate and a thorough excavation revealed approximately 1,200 pieces of bone belonging to 10 people, six of them being children. All the bones were more than 200 years old, and most had been sawed or drilled into.
No, don’t worry, Franklin wasn’t a serial killer. While he lived in London, he was friends with a man named William Hewson, a former student of the anatomist William Hunter. Scholars believe Hewson used Franklin’s basement as his own personal anatomy lab. It’s unclear, however, whether Franklin had knowledge of Hewson’s activities.

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