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He said that anyone who wanted to make money from his ideas was free to do so.This means the dates of his inventions are approximate. He felt limited by them, because any lens that was good for reading blurred his vision when he looked up. He defeated the problem in about 1739, aged 33, with his invention of split-lens bifocal spectacles. Looking through the bottom part of the lens was good for reading, while looking through the upper part offered good vision at a greater distance.His father, Josiah, was a tallow chandler, candle maker, and soap boiler who had moved to the American Colonies from England.His mother, Abiah Folger looked after the home and was the mother of ten children, including Benjamin, who was the eighth child in the family. Benjamin had only two years of formal education, which finished when he was ten years old, because his family could not afford the fees.With each year he published the Almanac, his financial position grew more secure, and Franklin’s fertile mind began looking for new outlets.He continued reading as much as he could, increasing his knowledge of science and technology until he was in a position to begin innovating himself.As Franklin read more about science, he learned more about heat transfer.

He had to work in his father’s business, but in his spare time he read everything he could, about every subject under the sun.

Benjamin Franklin performed a beautiful experiment using surfactants; on a pond at Clapham Common, he poured a small amount of oleic acid, a natural surfactant which tends to form a dense film at the water-air interface.

He measured the volume required to cover all the pond.

In 1743, Franklin founded the American Philosophical Society.

(In those days, scientists were called philosophers.) The Society offered a scientific forum for new ideas, including Franklin’s electrical theories.

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Here we shall concentrate on his life as a scientist and an inventor, only briefly touching on his other achievements.

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