Franklin in the $100 bill

Interesting Facts about Benjamin Franklin


  • Since 1928 Franklin’s portrait has been in the $100 bill. Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton are the only non-president appearing in US dollar bills.
  • From 1948 to 1963 Franklin’s portrait was on the Half Dollar.
Franklin's Half Dollar franklin-half-dollar-reverse
  • Franklin was the first person in America to manufacture type. He created a sans-serif font known as Franklin Gothic. It was named after him in 1902 and it is usually used in newspaper headlines.
  • Forbes ranked Benjamin Franklin the 89th richest man in American history.
  • As a boy Franklin loved swimming. His first invention was swimming fins for the hands. He tried them in his feet but were too bulky. As a young man he even tried to open a swimming school in London. For his contribution to the sport Franklin was posthumously indicted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
  • As a teenager Franklin was a writer, he published his first letter in the New England Courant under the pen name of “Silence Dogood”, a fictional widow of a country minister who has strong opinions.
  • For a short period of time he became a vegetarian.
  • The most influential book in Franklin’s life was “Bonifacius: Essays to Do Good” by Cotton Mather. His first pen name in the New England Courrant was Silence Dogood, a name conceived from this book and “Silentarius: The Silent Sufferer”.
  • Benjamin Franklin never patented an invention; he considered them as gifts to the public. His inventions were practical and designed to make everyday life easier. As he wrote in his autobiography:

“As we enjoy the advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously”

  • Among his inventions are: the flexible urinary catheter, swim fins, library chair, extension arm, Philadelphia or Franklin stove, lightning rod, bifocals and glass armonica.
  • He was the first person to chart the Gulf Stream and to propose an explanation of storm movement in the northern hemisphere. He proposed that storms can move in opposite direction from the wind.
  • In 1752 Franklin and the Junto club created Philadelphia Contributionship to insure property against fire. Today it is the nation’s oldest successful property insurance company.
  • During his printing experience he observed in that prolonged exposure to lead would cause sickness to those who handled lead printing molds.
  • It was Franklin’s idea to use a matching grant combining public money with private donations to build the Pennsylvania Hospital. It was the first time that this concept was used.
  • On August 27, 1783 Franklin witnessed the first hydrogen balloon flight.
  • Franklin was the first ambassador received by a foreign government, France. He was also chosen as the first minister plenipotentiary to Sweden in 1782 but he never visited the country.
  • In 1783 Franklin designed and commissioned Augustin Dupre, engraver of French currency and medals, to engrave the medallion “Libertas Americana”. It was minted in Paris for the first time.
  • Franklin was the oldest delegate to sign the Constitution at 81 years old. The youngest was Jonathan Dayton aged 26 representative from New Jersey.
  • As an envoy to Europe, Franklin stood before 5 kings.
  • In 1728 when he was 22 he wrote his own epitaph.
  • When Franklin died the French National Assembly declared a day of mourning.
  • His influence in the nation has led him being called “The only President of the United States who was never President of the United States”