Benjamin Franklin is born, January 6, 1705
There was little in Franklin’s early childhood to suggest that he would become such a towering figure. He was born in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the fifteenth child of candle maker Josiah Franklin. Although he had a limited formal education, he learned by reading every book or pamphlet he found. His lifetime of inventing began when he was eleven, when he devised a pair of swim fins that fit his hands. Among his many later inventions were bifocals, the heat-efficient Franklin stove, a musical instrument called the glass harmonica, and the lightning rod.