The True Ben Franklin

Next to Cecil’s column addressing the accomplishments of Ben Franklin, there’s as always, an illustration, and I’d like to make sure my eyes don’t decieve me as to its content.

Specifically, is Ben Franklin presenting that lady with a rather impressive kitekey-powered dildo, or is it just my smutty mind?

Nope your eyes look good to me. Slug ties together the whole inventor of electricity/womanizer issues that the column pretty well don’t you think? :wink:

I think if that was his contribution to early electronic development, I don’t think he’s more “famous than his accomplishments would warrant” at all.

:wink: :smiley:

This would be great for electrical storm-related blackouts.

“Don’t worry honey. Just hold this in place for a couple of minutes while I go launch the kite.”
You know, this reminds me of the 18"DHIBJD :eek: :eek: ! I can’t remember the last time someone mentioned it!

Cecil says he thinks this is toungue-in-cheek. But if that’s the case, why is it so absolutely, 100% true? In, um, my experience.

And I’m reminded of a summation of those reasons which I once heard:

They don’t tell.
They don’t swell,
And they’re grateful as hell.

I should point out that my first real girlfriend was eight years older than me, my wife was 18 years older than me. My mother was only three years older than my father, but he is currently living with an “older woman.” (I’m not sure of the age gap, but I know it’s more than five years.

This isn’t as juicy as the previous entries in this thread, but I thought I’d mention that Franklin, in his youth (before he retired from Poor Richard’s Almanac) wrote a treatise on Learning How to Swim, IIRC, the first written in America.

We never think about the older, rotund Franklin as an athlete, so this comes as something of a surprise.

Franklin was a wit, nho doubt about it. It helped him write the Almanac, livened his other writings, and endeared him to the FReench when he was a diplomat. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to have made him a witty advocate for Independence, as portrayed in the musical 1776. But I think Cec doesn’t give him enough credit – he was in the various Congresses and committees, and his name carried considerable weight.
By the way, Gout doesn’t keep a horny male from consorting with his lover. CalMeacham speaks from experience here.

I’m at a loss, here… I infer that that’s a double headed inflatable jelly dildo, but I can’t figure out what the B would stand for. And I might be mistaken about the I, too: Inflatable dildoes are, I think, usually made from rubber, not gel.

So, is there any evidence that any sex toys were among Ben’s long list of inventions? Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised either way.

Cecil Adams writes, “He published Poor Richard’s almanac. True.” Well, no, it’s not. (What happened to the vaunted Straight Dope research?) Franklin scholar Robert Newcomb long ago discovered that most-- not some, but most-- of the sayings of “Poor Richard” sayings were plagiarized by Franklin. And Newcomb was convinced that the approximately one-fourth of the Richard sayings he was unable to trace were also stolen, if he could only find the source.

I thought the big deal (if you can consider Poor Richard’s almanac a big deal, which I don’t, but that’s neither here nor there) was that he gathered all the sayings together and published them in one volume, not that he invented them all himself.

I mean, really, the statement is true, because it doesn’t say he was the sole creator of the content of the almanac – just that “he published Poor Richard’s almanac.”

IIRC, having read Poore Richard’s Almanack, Franklin freely admitted to the theft, saying something to the effect that he only stole from the best. His caveats on the weather predictions were also quite witty - saying that he’d included weather to suit every taste.

IB = Ice Blue . How could you possibly not have guessed? :slight_smile:

Not sex toys in any 21st century sense, but the erotic possibilities of electricity and magnetism do have some relevance to Cecil’s column in that they were a big deal in the 18th century. Fashionable ladies of the period could get a frission by taking part in the electric kiss during parlour demonstrations of electrical wonders. The association of newfangled technology with sex was commercial dynamite to the quack doctors of the period, so you get the likes of James Graham and his Celestial Bed, guaranteed to ensure fertillity via a subtle combination of electricity and magnetism. Similarly, there were obvious sexual aspects to “animal magnetism” and Mesmerism.
Whether Franklin ever indulged in teasing ladies with parlour experiments, I don’t know, but this was very much part of the background to his work - there’s even a reference to the electric kiss in his letter to Collinson about the kite (a pdf). He, of course, helped conclude that Mesmer was a fraud and I doubt he approved of Graham, though it was meeting Franklin that prompted the latter to get enthusiastic about electricity in the first place. What seems clear is that the erotic aspects helped make everything electrical fashionable and hence helped make Franklin famous.

Chronos see this thread and all will be revealed.

I was sorry that Cecil overlooked this book, written by another Cecil:

Author: Currey, Cecil B.
Title: Code number 72/Ben Franklin; patriot or spy? By Cecil B. Currey.
Publisher: Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall [1972]
Description: Book
viii, 331 p. 22 cm.

Curry makes a case that Franklin was a pretty active British agent during the Revolution.

(The Penn libraries data base lists eight books by Currey, most on military and historical subjects, though the authorities file is out of date and neglects to mention the first book by Currey that I read, written under the psuedonym “Cincinnatus.”
Author: Cincinnatus.
Title: Self-destruction, the disintegration and decay of the United States Army during the Vietnam era / by Cincinnatus.
Edition: 1st ed.
Publisher: New York : Norton, c1981.
Description: Book
288 p. ; 24 cm.)

You know, I really worry about a man who knows quite so much about eroticism and electromagnetism…

Not to detract from the electronic toy conversation, but Cecil gives Ben short shift as a physicist. Ten or so years ago, the American Institute of Physics released a commemorative book of great American physicists. (I believe it was for their 100th birthday, but it may have been for a similar magic number for a journal.) IIRC, there were eight physicists included, and Ben was one of them.

I also seem to recall reading that one reason he was chosen as an ambassador to France was that his scientific fame preceded him.

You may be thinking of the Bicentennial Commorative Volume of the AIP from 1976, which features Franklin alongside Henry, Michelson, Rowlands, Gibbs, Millikan and Compton.

Hmmm, I didn’t know that existed. It might be that they used the same book for two commemorative printings. I know that Franklin and Gibbs are in it; I’ll have to dig it out at home for the rest. (I’m confident it is a different printing, at the least, because I got a copy of the book for joining the AIP or subscribing to one of their journal’s or somesuch, while I was a grad student in the 80’s. Not that it isn’t possible for a few volumes not to have sold, physics being as popular as it was.

At any rate, the fact that the pros rank Franklin in such august company says something for his accomplishments.