Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790) was the youngest of 17 children born to the two weddings of Josiah Franklin, a wax candle merchant. A journalist and typographer since she was 15, she started at her brother James's newspaper, "The New England Courant" in Boston.
In 1729, he bought the Pennsylvania Gazette. His great success as editor was Poor Ricardo's Almanac. Published from 1732, the general information yearbook was full of Franklin's proverbs, such as "a penny saved is a penny earned." In this period, as well as editor, he led the group that created Philadelphia's first public library. He was also one of the founders of the University of Pennsylvania, where he built the first public hospital in the colony that would be the United States.
In 1748, he sold the publisher to become a full-time scientist. His discoveries about electricity brought him an international reputation. In addition to being elected a member of the Royal Society, he won the Copley Medal in 1753 and his name came to designate a measure of electrical charge. Franklin identified positive and negative charges and demonstrated that thunder is a phenomenon of electrical nature. This knowledge served as the basis for his main invention, the lightning rod. He also created the franklin stove (a very popular wood burning stove) and bifocal lenses.
Franklin revolutionized weather. Based on conversations with farmers, he noted that the same storm ran through several regions. Thus, it created similar weather maps to those used today to replace the charts used until then.
The inventor proved to be still a skilled public administrator, but used influence in favor of family members. His most notable achievement in government was the reform of the postal system. He was ambassador of the colonies in the United Kingdom and, after independence, representative of the United States in France, where he became a popular figure in Parisian society.
In 1785 Franklin was called back to the United States and honored with a portrait painted by Joseph Siffred Duplessis for the Smithsonian Institute's National Portrait Gallery in Washington as one of the heroes of independence. He had participated in the drafting of the "Declaration of Independence" and the Constitution. It engaged in the abolitionist campaign and continued with the rising popularity. When he died at 84, the funeral was accompanied by 20,000 people.