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 ConneCt the Dots: From eleCtriCity to Daylight savings time
 By Paul Nieman
A s we wrap up Daylight Savings Time for another year, we honor the person who came up with the idea. He did so more than 235 years ago in 1784, but it wasn’t implemented in the
United States until 1918.
The man who created the idea of
Daylight Savings Time accomplished many significant things in his lifetime. He was a scientist, a statesman, an economist, a musician and a philosopher. He also:
• Was born in 1706 as the youngest of 16 kids. Like his father, he was the youngest son of a youngest son; in fact, he was one of five consecutive generations of youngest sons! • Was our nation’s first postmaster general when he invented the first odometer. The odometer was used to measure the routes that mail carriers traveled because the amount of postage was calculated by the distance the mail carrier had to travel to deliver it.
• Invented bifocals, the lightning rod and swimming fins, among many other inventions.
• Established the first fire department as well as the first public library.
• Introduced original sayings, such as “Haste makes waste” and “Early to bed, and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
• Became the first person to appear on a U.S. postage stamp, in 1847.
• Discovered how to harness electricity in 1752.
• Signed the Declaration of Independence. As you probably know by now, we’re talking about Ben Franklin. Sure, he created the idea of Daylight Savings Time, but did he really discover electricity? Or was it an author named Richard Saunders who
discovered it?
Ben Franklin was also a newspaper
columnist for Boston’s first newspaper, The New England Courant, back in 1722. He got his first stories published by sliding them under the publisher’s door at age 16 because he didn’t think the publisher would print them if he knew who wrote them because the publisher was Ben’s older brother. Ben’s stories contained opinions and advice under the guise of a fictional middle-aged widow. His pen name? Ms. Silence Dogood.
Ben Franklin also wrote an annual book that is still popular more than 200 years after he first wrote and published it: Poor Richard’s Almanack.
So who was this Richard Saunders that was mentioned earlier? Did he really discover how to harness electricity, or was it Ben Franklin, as we were taught in history
Actually, Richard Saunders was a pen
name for ... Ben Franklin.
November 2019

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