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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Electrifying Benjamin Franklin was born on Jan. 17, 1706


Above / Wise and witty Ben Franklin has been the face on the $100 bill ever since 1914 when the Century Note was first introduced. Today we remembered we forgot to pay tribute to an all-American polymath on Jan. 17, 2023.

Street signs stand in downtown Naperville to remind us of our local and national history. Check out Washington, Jackson, Jefferson, Van Buren and Stenger, too. And remember the Main with cheers to Stenger Breweries!

Mindful of yesterday’s anniversary of Ben Franklin’s birthday in 1706 as well as his many inventions and discoveries, the technology to watch live and archived local school board meetings, Naperville City Council and Planning & Zoning meetings, Naperville Park District Board, and PN’s posts has come a long way since Franklin flew his kite.

To our surprise during public comments at the Naperville City Council meeting on Jan. 17, 2023, no one who’d signed up to speak about recharging stations or EV vehicles mentioned that Ben Franklin had been born 317 years ago that day.

Even during the pitch for “Electrifying DuPage,” an environmental summit to be hosted online by The Conservation Foundation from 8:30AM to Noon on Thurs., Jan. 21, 2023, nary a word about the powerful influence of Ben Franklin and his contributions was mentioned.

Thanks for paying attention to all in a timely fashion. Curiosity is the best!

“Since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.”  —Ben Franklin

Celebrate anniversary of Ben Franklin’s birth

Born on January 17, 1706, in Boston, Mass., Benjamin Franklin was the youngest son of 17 children. In 1730, he married Deborah Read and they had three children. By the end of his active life on April 17, 1790, Franklin had become one of the most famous of America’s founders and today his many practical inventions continue to be celebrated around the world.

More than other years, perhaps take a moment to recognize Franklin as an avid supporter of safety that comes with a collective focus on public health. Known for helping to establish the nation’s first public hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, Franklin contributed to medical discoveries, including support of smallpox inoculation in the 1730s via a process known as variolation, accompanied by risks. While the process typically would cause a mild form of the illness, it was known to produce lifelong immunity.

“The trick is to be grateful when your mood is high and graceful when it is low.” —Ben Franklin

Consider the technology used to find a coronavirus vaccine. Some processes change only slightly even as technology advances.

“The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” written in 1868 notes that Franklin’s support of inoculation through variolation was inspired in large part by the death of his 4-year-old son, Francis, following his infection with smallpox. That’s a whole other story.

Since 1980, the smallpox virus that was highly contagious, disfiguring, and often deadly (and traced back more than 12,000 years), has been eradicated.

Franklin’s wit, wisdom and sage advice are legendary. The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia remains one of the most educational and memorable places that our three children looked forward to visiting when they were young.

“There never was a good war nor a bad peace.” —Ben Franklin

We surround ourselves with Ben Franklin quotes and similar journals in our workplace to remind us to compare and analyze modern methods with the basic advice and commonsense Franklin espoused in the 18th century. As we embrace our own curiosity in this fast-paced world, we often ask, “What would Ben do?”

Making better decisions, pro & con / What would Ben Franklin do?

“…My way is to divide half a sheet of paper by a line into two columns; writing over the one Pro and over the other Con. Then during three or four days’ consideration, I put down under the different heads short hints of the different motives, that at different times occur to me, for or against the measure.

“When I have thus got them altogether in one view, I endeavor to estimate their respective weights; and where I find two, one on each side, that seem equal, I strike them both out.

“If I judge some two reasons con equal to some three reasons pro, I strike out five; and thus proceeding, I find where the balance lies; and if after a day or two of further consideration, nothing new that is of importance occurs on either side, I come to a determination accordingly…” –Benjamin Franklin

Eighteenth century publisher Ben Franklin served his country as a statesman, scientist, inventor and founding leader. (Pastel portrait on paper by Joseph-Siffred Duplessis, 1783, as pictured in World Book and the New York Public Library)

”Smile your best smile at everyone you see. Think about all the things you have to be thankful for…and smile. The world will smile with you.” —Ben Franklin

Never ever a self-proclaimed perfectionist and often mindful of his shortcomings, Ben Franklin can be credited for his never-ending curiosity, good humor and communication skills while improving the world in countless practical ways via a city hospital, electricity, fire departments, higher education, postal service, public libraries, weather forecasts and vaccinations.

A legendary jack-of-all-trades and avid risk taker during his 84 years, in 1752 Ben Franklin demonstrated to the world that lightning is electricity when he flew a kite during a thunderstorm in Philadelphia. Today a huge tribute to Benjamin Franklin is the centerpiece of the memorial at the Franklin Institute, an impressive 20-foot high marble sculpture by James Earle Fraser that weighs 30 tons. Imagine all that just for starters!

As a prolific inventor, Franklin never patented a single innovation, considering his inventions (bifocal lenses, Franklin stove, lightning rod, to name three) as gifts to the public. You could say his aversion to patents embraced the concept of “open source,” much like this publication in print monthly and daily online.

“Well done is better than well said.” —Ben Franklin

This image of Moser Tower along the Naperville Riverwalk during an electrical storm always is a reminder of Ben Franklin! And what’s happening on Rotary Hill? Jaycees Last Fling. (PN File Photo)

Thanks to technology, city meetings are online

Thanks to technology, the City of Naperville broadcasts public E-meetings such as City Council, Planning and Zoning Commission, Transportation Advisory Board and workshops for public viewing and streaming on electronic devices live and saves them in an archive for future viewing at any time around the clock.

Click here for E-Events & Archives of City Council Meetings, Etc.

Next up, City Council meets at 7PM Tues., Feb. 7, 2023. The community is encouraged to watch and learn. Thanks for paying attention.

Candidate Forums are slated for 7PM Jan. 31, Feb. 28 and March 14, 2023. The first of three public forums featuring candidates running to serve the Naperville City Council is set to begin at 7PM Tues., Jan. 31, in Council Chambers. The first two forums will feature 11 candidates for the four 4-year seats on City Council. The third forum will feature three candidates running to serve four years as Naperville Mayor. These forums are presented by Naperville Senior Task Force and Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation. Thanks to the genius of Ben Franklin all those centuries ago, these forums will be broadcast live.

Thanks for reading. Thanks, too, for watching and becoming familiar with your elected officials. And right now it’s time to gear up with knowledge about candidates running in the nonpartisan Consolidated Election on April 4, 2023.

Editor’s Note / We began marking Ben Franklin’s birthday annually after our daughter was born in March 1979. Back then, Franklin still was credited with the invention of the rocking chair, a staple for mothers, and we were grateful.

More recently, historians have traced the origin of the rocking chair to earlier in the 18th century when Franklin would have been a young child. No matter. Tracing the twists and turns of truth over the centuries, it is a fact that a rocking chair always has come in handy at our house and Franklin continues to come to mind. —PN

“There have been as many great souls unknown to fame as any of the most famous.”  —Ben Franklin

Click Here to Collection of Benjamin Franklin Quotes…

Updated Jan. 18, 2023, Jan. 29, 2023


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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.


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