American public official, writer, scientist, and printer. After the success of his Poor Richard's Almanac (1732–1757), he entered politics and played a major part in the American Revolution. Franklin negotiated French support for the colonists, signed the Treaty of Paris (1783), and helped draft the Constitution (1787–1789). His numerous scientific and practical innovations include the lightning rod, bifocal spectacles, and a stove.
American public official, scientist, inventor, and writer who fully established the distinction between negative and positive electricity, proved that lightning and electricity are identical, and suggested that buildings could be protected by lightning conductors. He also invented bifocal glasses, established the direction of the prevailing storm track in North America and determined the existence of the Gulf Stream.