Benjamin Franklin was the most famous American in the world by the time of the Revolutionary War, known as a writer, inventor and philosopher. But as an old man, he would earn another title -- rebel.
By the time of the Boston Massacre, Dr. Franklin was already an elderly man, watching the early days of American unrest from his comfy home in London. His scientific experiments were eventually put on hold as he rushed back to the colonies to help set up the mechanism of independence.
But while others went to war, Franklin went -- to France? It was because of his great celebrity that he was deployed on an unusual mission to court an important ally for George Washington and his Continental Army. And it was in the banquet halls and libraries of Paris that Franklin would actually invent one of his useful creations.
STARRING: Mesmer, Marie Antoinette, Voltaire and all the Founding Fathers!
Part Three of The Invention of Benjamin Franklin. Check the two prior episodes to catch up on his extraordinary story.
How much do you know about one of the most famous scientific experiments in American history?
In 1752 Benjamin Franklin and his son William performed a dangerous act of experimentation, conjuring one of nature's most lethal powers from the air itself. This tale -- with the kite and the key -- has entered American urban legend. But it did not happen quite the way you learned about it in school. (Did you know somebody died trying to duplicate Franklin's astonishing feat?)
In this second chapter of The Invention of Benjamin Franklin, the inventor becomes an international celebrity thanks to his clear writing style and pragmatic outlook. Not only would he change the field of electrical sciences, he would even change the English language.
PLUS: London inspires the invention of a beautiful glass instrument, capturing the music of the 18th century.