Every nation has its heroes， of course， If a nation is lucky， it has one who was so able in everything he or she did that the person's legacy stretches in many directions. Michelangelo comes to mind. Well， America has been fortunate in this respect， too.
Ben Franklin was an inventor not only of things， but of ideas. First some of the things， Ben Franklin invented the lightning rod； he created the first wood stove with a pipe out the back that extended through the wall. You may say： "So what in these days of forced air heating？" But in his time， the Franklin Stove produced far more heat than a fireplace， cost less to operate， was less smoky， and became popular all over the world. Franklin also published America's first magazine and organized its first postal service and its first lending library.
Ben Franklin was also famous—— still is， 200 some years after his death—— for his witty observations， like， "Keep your eyes wide open before marriage， half——shut afterwards. " Or， "There never was a good war or a bad peace. " Another one： "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes. "
But he was much more than just a clever tinker with things and words. This moon" faced， simply dressed， somewhat obese man- he sometimes called himself "Mr. Fatsides" ——was one of those who created the U. S. Declaration of Independence. It was he who put the "self-evident" in its most famous line- "We hold these truths to be self-evident， that all men are created equal. " And when it appeared that the new United States may not be able to win its war against Britain， it was old Ben then in his 70s， who was dispatched to Paris and talked the French into sending soldiers and ships to help the Americans——help without which America today might well be a member of the British Common wealth. All the while he was in France， it must also be noted， he was pursuing， apparently with considerable luck， the ladies of King Louis XIV court.
Ben's most enduring legacy， though， is the U. S， Constitution he helped write in Philadelphia in 1787. When the delegates got into wrangles with one another on how this new kind of government should work， it was Benjamin Franklin who was always there to arrange a compromise.
He died at 84 in his beloved Philadelphia.
A couple of centuries ago， no American was better known in Europe than a portly old man who wore his spectacles on the end of this nose. His name was Benjamin Franklin. The story is about a man who has dedicated his life to keeping Franklin's memory fresh.
Ralph Archbold lives in a self-imposed time warp. Sort of. Fifteen years ago， he became fascinated with one of America's founding fathers. Benjamin Franklin， and decided that he' would make his living impersonating him. And he does. The other day I knocked on the door of Mr. Archbold's townhouse in Philadelphia. not far from where Mr. Franklin lived a couple of hundred years ago.
Benjamin Franklin， a scientist of world fame， one of the authors of the U. S. Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution， was quite a ladies' man， even when he was in his 80s and that's when he was representing this country in Europe. Ralph Archbold knows every nook and cranny of Franklin's life" knowledge he further authenticates by looking like the old gentleman and dressing like him.
"I will do 600 performances. Just in schools I will do 400 performances， each one about an hour long. And then with conventions and meetings I am very busy. This is a full-time career， and it has been for the 15 years. "
He makes a good living impersonating Franklin" But， there's more to it than that：
"When I can be photographed with someone who will take the photo back and say， 'look， here I am with Ben Franklin， and you know what I found out about him that I didn't know？' that's an exciting outreach. It's exciting for me to realize that from all over the world people come here. they touch the 'Liberty' Bell， and then they might have a chance to meet Ben Franklin. And they have all heard about Ben， and they all love Ben. And that is really exciting. People . . . people really like to talk to Ben Franklin. "