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Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), US scientist, inventor and statesman. Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He proposed and may have carried out experiments to show that lightning is electricity by flying a kite during a thunderstorm. This led to his invention of the lightning rod to protect buildings from lightning strikes. He also invented fins for swimming, bifocal glasses, a urinary catheter and showed that evaporation cooled objects. He also helped shape the American Revolution and was a signatory of the US Declaration of Independence. This woodcut dates from around 1880.
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