5 Strange Facts About Benjamin Franklin

5 Strange Facts About Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was an extremely unique individual.  

He is well known as a Founding Father of the United States for the numerous roles he played in the creation of this country.  Additionally, Franklin is known for his experiments with electricity.  

Franklin also had many strange quarks and habits.  In this article, we will take a look at one of the greatest (and perhaps strangest) Americans to ever live.

He Ran Away From Home

Benjamin Franklin grew up in Boston and was apprenticed to his brother to learn the printing trade.

Although his education had ended at a very young age, Ben had a knack for the business.  Unfortunately, he grew tired of the treatment he suffered at his brother’s hands and fled his home at the age of 17.

Franklin made his way to Philadelphia where he would create a revolutionary life for himself.

He Was A Vegetarian

When he arrived in Philadelphia, Benny Franks was poor.  Real poor.  The kind of poor you might expect from a teenage runaway.

But Benjamin loved to read.  He needed to read.  So, he saved what little money he had to buy books.

How did he do this?

He became a vegetarian.

Meat was expensive, and Franklin made the decision that he preferred reading more than the taste of animals.  He developed a meatless lifestyle which he kept even when he became fabulously wealthy.

He Gave Swimming Lessons

As another way to supplement his income, the young Franklin gave swimming lessons.  He was a strong and avid swimmer at a time where drowning was a real fear had by many.

Franklin took advantage of this skill and taught other men the basics of the water for a small fee.

He Invented A Musical Instrument

Have you ever wet your finger and run it around the top of a wine glass to play a sound?  Have you ever seen someone play a song with multiple glasses?

Franklin took this to a whole new level when he invented a musical instrument: the glass harmonica.

Basically, the instrument consisted of glass rings on a rod which would spin when a foot pedal was pressed.  Therefore, instead of spinning your finger around the glass, the glass spun under your finger.

The glass harmonica was extremely popular for a while.  Both Mozart and Beethoven wrote pieces for Franklin’s instrument!

He Invented The Pros And Cons List

Have you ever made a list of pros and cons on a piece of paper?  Whelp, you have good old Benji to thank for that.


The first known reference to this type of decision making process was written by Franklin to his British friend Joseph Priestley in 1772.

Now next time you see this trope used in your favorite sitcom, take a moment to thank the brilliant Benjamin Franklin.

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Benjamin Franklin has a thousand books about him you can read so, since this article mentioned  Joseph Priestley (who was not an American), I am going to recommend 'The Invention of Air' which discusses the life of one of Franklin's scientific associates.  The links below go to our affiliate Amazon.  A purchase will support this site at no additional cost to you.

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