Invention of the Franklin Stove

Benjamin Franklin (1706 -1790) was a polymath: politician, publisher, author, diplomat, and political philosopher. He is also considered the first world-renowned American scientist. In his famous experiment, flying a kite during a thunderstorm, he intended to prove that lightning is a form of electrical energy. Franklin applied this discovery to the invention of the lightning rod. Since he spent a lot of time at his desk, Franklin was annoyed by the smoke, inefficiency, and excessive wood consumption of open fireplaces, which were commonly used for heating at the time. In 1742, he began working on a more efficient stove design, which included a closed combustion chamber that was removed from the wall. The hot gases were diverted from the stove’s base by a baffle, or a metal panel, which enabled more heat to enter the room. After a few slight modifications, the Franklin stove provided the most advanced way of heating during its time.

Further Readings: 
  • Block, Seymour Stanton. Benjamin Franklin: Genius of Kites, Flights and Voting Rights. Jefferson: McFarland & Co, 2004.
  • Cohen, Bernard, and Samuel Y. Edgerton, Jr. Benjamin Franklin's Science. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996.
  • Gaustad, Edwin S. Benjamin Franklin. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.