Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

March 16, 2014

ED VASICEK: 2 American inventors who changed our nation, world

Franklin, Edison paved way for many advancements.

A recent AFP article talked about cybercrime, the likes of which troubled Target customers during the Christmas season. One hundred ten million customers may have had their credit card numbers stolen while they were rushing to buy holiday gifts for friends and loved ones. Talk about the Grinch.

Sadly, many great minds are focusing their efforts upon stealing, exploiting and taking advantage of others. That is their vocation. On the other side of the war are government agencies, Web security organizations (like McAfee, Norton, Webroot and a host of others) employing their efforts to protect citizens.

When great minds turn toward bettering our lives and serving others, amazing things can happen. In Kokomo, the City of Firsts, we have a legacy of offering our world some significant inventions; folks like Haynes, Apperson, Spraker and a number of others have altered the American way of life. Kokomo has been a hub for creativity, and we still are creative and innovative.

Today, however, I want to consider two of the greatest inventors in American history. The first is Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790).

Franklin was a man of many talents, interests and abilities. Most of us remember him for the major role he played in shaping our nation, a patriot of the Revolution, one of the greatest statesmen, politicians and leaders in our history. But Franklin was also an amazing inventor, adapter and innovator. Much of my information about Franklin comes from www.ushistory.org.

Some of his greatest inventions include the Franklin wood-burning stove, a great improvement over the traditional fireplace. If you own a traditional fireplace, you know how poorly it heats. By making a stove out of iron and placing it in the middle of the room, Franklin made a gigantic leap in efficiency. Indeed, many Tribune readers heat their homes with such wood burners even today!

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