The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 118

were intended to afford;
giving, besides, the daily trouble of wiping them clean; and an
accidental stroke on one of them would demolish it, and render it
totally useless. I therefore suggested the composing them of four flat
panes, with a long funnel above to draw up the smoke, and crevices
admitting air below, to facilitate the ascent of the smoke; by this
means they were kept clean, and did not grow dark in a few hours, as
the London lamps do, but continu'd bright till morning, and an
accidental stroke would generally break but a single pane, easily

[12] See votes.

I have sometimes wonder'd that the Londoners did not, from the effect
holes in the bottom of the globe lamps us'd at Vauxhall have in keeping
them clean, learn to have such holes in their street lamps. But, these
holes being made for another purpose, viz., to communicate flame more
suddenly to the wick by a little flax hanging down thro' them, the
other use, of letting in air, seems not to have been thought of; and
therefore, after the lamps have been lit a few hours, the streets of
London are very poorly illuminated.

The mention of these improvements puts me in mind of one I propos'd,
when in London, to Dr. Fothergill, who was among the best men I have
known, and a great promoter of useful projects. I had observ'd that
the streets, when dry, were never swept, and the light dust carried
away; but it was suffer'd to accumulate till wet weather reduc'd it to
mud, and then, after lying some days so deep on the pavement that there
was no crossing but in paths kept clean by poor people with brooms, it
was with great labour rak'd together and thrown up into carts open
above, the sides of which suffer'd some of the slush at every jolt on
the pavement to shake out and fall, sometimes to the annoyance of
foot-passengers. The reason given for not sweeping the dusty streets
was, that the dust would fly into the windows of shops and houses.

An accidental occurrence had instructed me how much sweeping might be
done in a little time. I found at my door in Craven-street, one
morning, a poor woman sweeping my pavement with a birch broom; she
appeared very pale and feeble, as just come out of a fit of sickness.
I ask'd who employ'd her to sweep there; she said, "Nobody, but I am
very poor and in distress, and I sweeps before gentlefolkses doors, and

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

Page 2
The proprietor, it seems, had found a bidder of a different description in some emissary of government, whose object was to withhold the manuscripts from the world, not to benefit it by their publication; and they thus either passed into other hands, or the person to whom they were bequeathed received a remuneration for suppressing them.
Page 17
When embarked with other children, the helm was commonly deputed to me, particularly on difficult occasions; and, in every other project, I was almost always the leader of the troop, whom I sometimes involved in embarrassments.
Page 55
He was a tolerable Latin scholar, spoke French fluently, and was fond of reading.
Page 56
He added, that as soon as I had acquired a knowledge of mercantile transactions, he would improve my situation, by sending me with a cargo of corn and flour to the American islands, and by procuring me other lucrative commissions; so that, with good management and economy, I might in time begin business with advantage for myself.
Page 117
All the directions herein given respecting the disposition and management of the donation to the inhabitants of Boston, I would have observed respecting that to the inhabitants of Philadelphia; only, as Philadelphia is incorporated, I request the corporation of that city to undertake the management, agreeable to the said directions: and I do hereby vest them with full and ample powers for that purpose.
Page 119
_ _"The following observations and experiments were not drawn up with a view to their being made public, but were communicated at different times, and most of them in letters, written on various topics, as matters only of private amusement.
Page 132
To prove this, take two bottles that were equally charged through the hooks, one in each hand: bring their hooks near each other, and no spark or shock will follow; because each hook is disposed to give fire, and neither to receive it.
Page 156
Thus, a pin held by the head, and the point presented to an electrified body, will draw off its atmosphere at a foot distance; where, if the head were presented instead of the point, no such effect would follow.
Page 178
But the spots on the silver or iron will be the same, whether the bullet be lead, brass, gold, or silver.
Page 193
Or such a cloud, passing over woods of tall trees, may from the points and sharp edges of their moist top leaves, receive silently some supply.
Page 199
It is conjectured also, that the balls at this time contain less than their common share of the electrical fluid, on account of the repelling power of that which surrounds them; though some, perhaps, is continually entering and passing through the threads.
Page 226
Page 236
Page 266
It has been thought, that water reduced to vapour by heat was rarefied only fourteen thousand times, and on this principle our engines for raising water by fire are said to be constructed: but if the vapour so much rarefied from water is capable of being itself still farther rarefied to a boundless degree by the application of heat to the vessels or parts of vessels containing the vapour (as at first it is applied to those containing the water) perhaps a much greater power may be obtained, with little additional expence.
Page 269
From this experiment it seems that a greater effect in drawing off the lightning from the clouds may be expected from _long_ pointed rods, than from _short_ ones; I mean from such as show the greatest length, _above the building_ they are fixed on.
Page 279
If you have read my experiments made in continuation of those of Mr.
Page 296
I likewise made the following experiment: having charged two phials (prepared for the Leyden experiment) through their hooks; two persons took each one of these phials in their hand; one held his phial by the coating, the other by the hook, which he could do by removing the communication.
Page 322
383, and _seq.
Page 324
351, _et seq.
Page 331
letter on the militia bill of, 157.