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Franklin Stove 1.0

Benjamin Franklin has been trying to increase the heat efficiency of the colonial fireplace. In fireplaces, most of the heat goes up the chimney with the exhaust gases rather than radiating into the room so Franklin funnels the gases past an iron plate that presumably radiates its heat back into the room. Then he tries a freestanding stove, but it smokes too much so he contracts with Robert Grace to build a new design. This is the familiar Franklin Stove but Franklin calls it a Pennsylvania Fireplace. The price is 5 pounds sterling or about $1,000 in 2014 dollars. It funnels exhaust fumes past a baffle to absorb the heat. The baffle is connected to a duct of cold-air that is drawn upward by the convection current of warm air in the baffle and radiates out the back as heated air. The Governor of Pennsylvania suggests that Franklin patent his design, but he refuses saying, "...as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously." Unfortunately the 1.0 design is not a great success due to its complexity and the cold air only draws when the stove is really hot. Nevertheless, later improvements will be made to the Franklin Stove over the years and these will help its popularity considerably. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Franklin Stove of today is a much simpler and more efficient design than the original, but it is doubtful that people would have spent the time improving it if Franklin had patented it. He published his plans for the design and arranged for a supplier of parts. People could build their own Franklin Stove and they could make improvements to the design and not worry about being sued. Punishing people for improving on ideas is what we do today. Rewarding people for good thinking hasn't quite caught on yet. When the United States of America was founded, copyrights were limited to 14 years with one renewal, and patents could not exceed 14 years, period. The short limits allowed an inventor to exploit his idea, but also allowed time for others to build upon that idea later. Nowadays, most ideas are protected by copyright until our great grandchildren are too old to build upon them. In the computer world, patents can kill innovation since a violation of patent does not require stealing an idea. All it requires is that two people think alike and each person implement the same idea at the same time but only one of them records it at the patent office. [4] [5]

Cotopaxi Is Rumbling. What Could go Wrong?

This is not the first time the volcano Cotopaxi, in present day Ecuador, has blown its top. The last time was two years ago. Nevertheless, the volcano eruption has flattened the town of Latacunga which is about 21 miles away. The volcano will do so again in 1789. Then almost a century later (in 1877) the town will be buried in a mudslide as the snow cap melts from volcanic steam and carries away the earth and ash. This is a very active volcano and will remain so into the modern day. [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
So... how active is it? The most recent eruption as of this writing was in January of 2016. Currently over 300,000 people are at risk. 170,000 live around the city of Latacunga itself. They are all aware of the danger and I am amazed at how people cling to what is called normalcy bias. That is, because nothing bad happened yesterday means that nothing bad will happen today or tomorrow. And they call me crazy for preparing for a little extra wind and rain. These people need a bus ticket to reality. [8] [9]

The Adams Family Roundup

Abigail (Smith) Adams is born this year in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Her father is a congregational minister whose preaching focuses on reason and morality. She will eventually fall in love with and marry John Adams, the first Vice President of the United States and the second President of the United States. That will make Abigail, the first "Second Lady" and the second "First Lady". (Say that three times fast.) She will also be mother to John Quincy Adams, the 6th President of the United States. She will be related to just about everyone including her own husband who is already hanging around. He is currently 9-years-old and her 3rd cousin. She will be home-schooled by her mother, and will become one of the most well-read First Ladies of the United States and the first to reside at the White House which will be only partially completed by that time. She will also involve herself so much in politics that people will call her "Mrs. President." [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Well... so much for demure and quiet First Ladies. So why should we care about Abigail Adams? I learned from the great HBO mini-series, John Adams, that she really did love her husband. I believe it because there is so much evidence of the fact. They wrote many letters to each other during the American Revolution. Therefore, we know a lot about her thoughts and the thoughts of John Adams during a critical time in history. We also know how much John depended upon Abigail for her ideas, opinions, and support. In many ways she will be a Founding Mother as much as John Adams will be a Founding Father of the United States. She won't be an appendage of her husband. She will involve herself in what happens to the United States. That is why they called her "Mrs. President" in later years. [11]

Major Events

  • Robert Clive arrives in India as a clerk but will found British India. [7] [12]
  • Elbridge Gerry, the man who invents Gerrymandering is born this year. [7] [13]
  • The Saudi family adopts Wahhabism [7]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1744, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Measuring Worth, 2002 to 2014 (£130). “In 2014, the relative value of £5 from 1744 ranges from £703.40 to £90,350.00.”
  2. Franklin Stove History - Invention of the Franklin Stove. ideafinder.com (2007). Retrieved on 15 March 2016. “In 1742 Ben designed a cast-iron stove that was freestanding. It could heat rooms more efficiently than wall-bound fireplaces. Unfortunately, he designed it so the smoke would come out from the bottom. Since smoke rises, this made it impossible for his original stove to work properly. But, even with this major flaw it was better and safer than previous methods.”
  3. Isaacson, Walter. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0684807610. “His most intense immersion into science was during the 1740s, and it reached a peak in the years right after he retired from business in 1748. He had neither the academic training nor the grounding in math to be a great theorist, and his pursuit of what he called his 'scientific amusements' caused some to dismiss him as a mere tinkerer. But during his life he was celebrated as the most famous scientist alive, and recent academic studies have restored his place in the scientific pantheon.” 
  4. The U.S. Patent System Celebrates 212 Years. United States Patent and Trademark Office (2016). Retrieved on 15 March 2016. “The Department of State had the responsibility for administering the patent laws, and fees for a patent were between $4 and $5, with the board deciding on the duration of each patent, not to exceed 14 years.”
  5. Alex Shrugged notes: I am simplifying the history a little here. Under the Articles of Confederation, the United States did not have the power to set limits on patents and copyrights. That was all developed later, beginning in 1790.
  6. Cotopaxi - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 March 2016. “The government estimates some 300,000 people are at risk from the volcano in the provinces of Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Napo and Pichincha, where already 225,000 received information.”
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 342-343. 
  8. Global Volcanism Program - Cotopaxi. volcano.si.edu (2016). Retrieved on 15 March 2016. “The Quito metropolitan sanitation and drinking water company (EMAAP-Q) prepared a contingency plan for residents around Cotopaxi. The challenge was to provide for sufficient amounts of potable and sanitation water for some half a million people in the event of an eruption that contaminates their normal water supplies.”
  9. Latacunga - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 March 2016. “The Virgin is venerated because she stopped the Cotopaxi Volcano eruption in 1742. That is the reason why Latacunga's inhabitants call her 'Abogada y patrona del volcan' meaning (advocate and patron of the volcano).”
  10. Abigail Adams. Unitarian Universalist Historical Society (2006). Retrieved on 15 March 2016. “Her letters show her to have been a woman of keen intelligence, resourceful, competent, self-sufficient, willful, vivacious, and opinionated—a formidable force. Her writing reveals a dedication to principle, a commitment to rights for women and for African-Americans, fierce partisanship in matters of her husband's and her family's interest, and an irreverent sense of humor.”
  11. John Adams: Abigail Adams. HBO (2016). Retrieved on 15 March 2016. “Educated entirely at home, she was intelligent, tender, sensible, and as avid about learning as her husband. During Adams' long absences, the devoted, courageous Abigail managed the family, farm and finances under the duress of wartime. She joined her husband for a time in Europe, where she delighted in the arts and culture and formed a close bond with Thomas Jefferson. Abigail abhorred slavery and the inequality of women and proved to be one of the most involved and effective first ladies ever.”
  12. Robert Clive - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 March 2016. “He is credited with securing India, and the wealth that followed, for the British crown. Together with Warren Hastings he was one of the key early figures in the creation of British India.”
  13. Elbridge Gerry - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 15 March 2016. “He is known best for being the namesake of gerrymandering, a process by which electoral districts are drawn with the aim of aiding the party in power, although its initial 'g' has softened...”

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