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Section 6.1.9

A Celebration of Benjamin Franklin:

The Year 1706 and Other Events of that Era

By Richard Kithil, President & CEO, NLSI

Please join me in a toast to Benjamin Franklin: printer, author, scientist, statesman, diplomat, inventor, and philanthropist, born on Milk Street in Boston.

  1. Benjamin Franklin was born January 17, 1706.

  2. Other notables who were born same year included:

    - John Baskerville, English printer and creator of typeface bearing his name. (Jan. 28)

    - Giovanni Martini, Italian composer and music theorist (April 24).

    - John Dolland, English maker of optical and astronomic instruments, made possible the first measurement of the sun's diameter (June 10).

    - Gabrielle-Emille Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise du Chatelet. French mathematician and physicist. Mistress of Voltaire (Dec. 17).

  3. Queen Anne's war (1702-1713) was continuing in the colonies with French and Indian raids on Charleston SC in 1706. At war's end, England got most of France's Canadian territory (Treaty of Utrecht, 1713).

  4. In Europe, Portugal invaded Spain in 1706 in the War of the Spanish Succession. (1701-1714) Portuguese troops occupied Madrid, holding it for four months before being driven out. In 1706, The Duke of Marlboro defeated Duc de Villeroi's forces at the Battle of Ramillies. Austrians, under Prince Eugene, defeated the French at Turin in 1706, virtually ending the French war effort in Italy. In the Great Northern War, Swedes invaded and defeated Saxony. (Gibralter was captured by the English from the French in 1704.)

  5. In 1703 the construction of Buckingham Palace commences.

  6. In 1704, scientist Isaac Newton publishes "OPTICS", propounding the corpuscular theory of light and explains his "Method of Fluxions" a.k.a calculus.

  7. The use of jewels in watch movements is introduced this same year.

  8. in 1705, Edmund Halley predicts the return of the 1682 comet will occur 76 years later. It does return on Christmas Day 1758.

  9. The Danish astronomer Olaus Roemer issues a new star catalog in 1706.

  10. In 1707 England and Scotland are formally united.

  11. In 1709 British ironmaster Abraham Darby uses coked coal to smelt iron at Coalbrookedale, Shropshire, pioneering a new technique.

  12. In 1710, engraver J.C. Lee from Germany invents the three color printing process.

  13. In 1712, another ironmonger,Thomas Newcomen, invents an early steam engine.

  14. In 1714, the German Gabriel Fahrenheit develops a mercury thermometer.

  15. In music, during the early 1700s, the first clarinet is developed in Nuerenberg; the slide trumpet is invented in England; the Florentine harpsicord-maker Bartolomeo Christofori builds the first piano.

  16. The Presbyterian church is established in America in 1706 by the Irishman Francis Makemie. Clemet XI is Pope; Thomas Tenison is Archbishop of Canterbury; the Philadelphia Baptist Association is established in 1707.

  17. The early 1700's saw the Dutch scientist Anton van Leeuwenhoek investigate the "toothworm," popularly believed the cause of cavities. Using his microscope, he finds that worms lodged in cavities came from eating worm-infested overripe cheese. The Chinese invented the modern toothbrush, with bristles at right angles to the handle, about 1490.

  18. It wasnt until 1726 that blood pressure was successfully measured (on a horse), and the first successful appendectomy was ten years after that in 1736.

  19. In Tokyo, Japan a 1703 earthquake kills 200,000 people. 1707 was the last eruption of Mt. Fuji.

  20. Franklin's birthday is commemorated each year at graveside by the Poor Richard Club. In 1728 Franklin wrote a premature epitaph for himself which first appeared in print in 1771 in Ames' Almanac:

"The body of Benjamin Franklin/printer, like an old book, its contents torn out. And stripped of its lettering and gilding, lies here. Food for worms. But the work shall not be lost. It will (as he believed) appear once more, in a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and amended by the Author."

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