Benjamin Franklin

Born in Boston on January 17, 1706, Benjamin Franklin was the 15th child and the youngest son of a candle and soap maker. Despite his success at school, his formal education was stopped when he was 10 so that he could work full-time in his cash-strapped father’s shop. At 12, he was made apprentice at his brother, James’ print shop, where he learned much about the publishing business which influenced him later in life.

He went on to become an ambassador, an athlete, a scientist, a statesman, a writer, a philosopher, a musician, a businessman and a celebrated free thinker. Often referred to as ‘America’s Renaissance Man’ he was emblematic of the fledgling American nation. Besides organizing the first library in America, he adopted the pseudonym of ‘Poor Richard’ and wrote on ethical philosophy in the annual publication, ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack’. Scientists throughout the world were impressed with his experiments in electricity. In fact, the lightning rod was his invention.

He was the only leading American to sign on all the four major documents that laid the foundation of the Republic: the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Treaties of Alliance (1778), the Peace Treaty between Great Britain and the United States (1783) and the Constitution of the United States (1787).

He went into a coma after an abscess in his lung burst and passed away on April 17, 1780, at the age of 84.