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Day Light Savings Time and Benjamin Franklin

March 8, 2012

The idea of Day Light Savings Time was first proposed by a 78 year old Benjamin Franklin while he was living in France in 1784. That same year he also invented bifocals and a year earlier he witnessed the first manned balloon flight.  When he died in 1790, he was one of the richest men in America.


Ben was an entrepreneur starting a printing business we all know about, but he also formed about a dozen printing partnerships throughout the Colonies, ran a font manufacturing business, was a paper distributor, newspaper and book publisher, paper currency printer and for 25 years wrote an almanac that became the largest selling book in the Colonies.


At the age of 42, Franklin “retired” from his printing business by selling it for half the profits for 18 years.  In effect, he exchanged half his income for all of his time.  When he died he was not known for his wealth or business activities, but for what he did afterwards, one of which was to help create the United States of America.  Day Light Savings Time is but a minor postscript in his bio.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Brad Caruso permalink
    March 9, 2012 4:23 am

    Too bad America cannot go back to 1790… I would enjoy collecting half my income with all the time in the world at Age 42 to do great things. Enjoyable read.

  2. Michael Duclos permalink
    March 9, 2012 6:58 pm

    One of my favorite quotes attributed to Ben Franklin: “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Words that resonate with me daily.

    And, Ben Franklin “walked the walk” — his Son was the British Governor of New Jersey at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and Ben Franklin and his son never reconciled after his signing of the document.

    Not that Franklin was not prone to a little debauchery. He famously counseled a friend in 1745 about the 6 joys of older women — including older women are better conversationalists, “Because as they have more Knowledge of the World and their Minds are better stor’d with Observations.” Furthermore, as women lose their looks with age, Franklin writes that they tend to become more agreeable, Franklin also advises, the experience is pretty much the same (“in the dark all Cats are grey”) whether the woman is old or young so long as one covers “all above with a Basket” and concentrates solely on “what is below the Girdle.”

    I’m sure he’d be pleased to know that his picture is in so many ladies pockets.

    • March 10, 2012 4:23 pm

      His final comment about a young man making love to an older woman is that “they are so grateful!” He always had a practical bend.

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