Saturday, September 30, 2006

Lightning Rod

Heres Ben's most important invention the lightning rod. Why is it the most important invention? Well, houses keep being struck by lightning and burning down, so Ben invented the lightning rod at the ripe age of 46 after doing his famed kite experiment with his son.

Ben wanted to install one of his lightning rods on a church. They thought it was going against God's will and refused. Ben explained that there is no objection to roofs to stop rain so why not lightning rods to stop lightning?

Lightning rods were popular and fashionable that people started putting them on umbrellas.
I thought it would be funny if Ben invented the first lightning rod hat...


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Glass Armonica

Here's Ben's Glass Armonica, which is also inaccurately called a Glass Harmonica. See, the amazing Mr. Franklin invented this insturment 60 years before the harmonica! Ok, with that said, this insturment is based on wetting your finger and running arouud the rim of a wine glass to make a haunting noise. This is the same principal. In fact Mozart actually composed a piece for the Glass Armonica, you can hear it here.

This is what this weirdo insturment looks like:

Next is Ben's most important invention...


Sunday, September 03, 2006

The First American

This is one of my all time heroes Ben Franklin. I'm from Pennsylvania, and growing up close to Philadelphia, all us kids would be told how great Ben Franklin was, but I didn't really believe it until much later.

I think it was something like 3rd grade we all went on a field trip the "city of brotherly love" and went to visit all the sites: the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Betsy Ross's house. Then when we thought the day was over, the teacher walked us up to a fence and showed us a slab of concrete on the ground. She told us it was Ben Franklin's grave! That's when I knew he was a real person! We threw pennies on the grave and moved on, but Ben stuck with me...

Later in school we were told more about Mr. Franklin. He would schedule out every second of every day to be as efficient as he could including baths, time with his wife, and prayer. I vowed to do that very thing... Years later, I don't schedule out every second, but as my friends can attest, I get close!

Last year PBS aired a really cool documentary all about him and it rejuvenated my interest in Mr. Franklin. He invented a whole bunch of cool stuff just from tinkering around his house, and having a curious mind. He was a scholar, printer, diplomat, writer, and revolutionary.

He was called "The First American" because up to that point in history, everyone living in the colonies were thought of as citizens of England. He was born in America and got a lot of world recognition for his inventions, discoveries, and diplomacy. So he might not have technically been the very first american, but he the world regocognized him as such...

2006 his 300th birthday and I needed to do something to celebrate the guy...

The next two paintings are based on his inventions...