Benjamin Franklin, American theorist on static electricity, 18th century.
© NRM / Pictorial Collection / Science & Society Picture Library
One of a series of tiles portraying famous scientists made by John Eyre for Doulton & Company and first shown at an exhibition in 1886. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) trained as a printer, first in his family's firm in Boston, and later in England. He became a notable publisher but is now better known as one of the founders of the science of electricity. He became interested in the principles of electricity in 1747 and published 'Experiments and Observations on electricity' in London in 1751. Franklin also invented the lightning conductor.