Unformatted text preview: By the end of the 1730s, Franklin was well known as a civic leader. His writings, especially those of Poor Richard, were famous. Yet relatively few people knew about Franklin's scientific interests. Within twenty years he would be called the greatest scientist in America, with a reputation that rivaled Newton's. His first major step toward scientific fame came in 1743, when he wrote an essay entitled "A Proposal for Promoting Useful Knowledge," which led to the establishment of the American Philosophical Society. It was America's first scientific society. In 1745, the Library Company received a pamphlet describing German experiments in electricity from a London merchant named Peter Collinson. At this time little was known about the nature of electricity, and Franklin was eager to discover more. With the help of several colleagues, he soon proved that there was only one kind of electricity–most...
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- Fall '07