Ben Franklin had many hobbies, including swimming, reading and conducting scientific experiments. His fascination with electricity led to his invention of the lightning rod, which proved to be a great safety device that protected homes from catching fire in lightning storms.
Franklin was admired as a character and scholar in France and Britain as well as in America. He was an outspoken Anglophile, friend to the Native Americans and strong believer in virtuousness and self-improvement. He taught himself five languages in addition to English, but he was never fluent in any of them.
As a lover of music, Franklin invented a musical instrument, the glass armonica, and he could also play a number of musical instruments. His love of swimming led him to impress his British friends by swimming deftly across the Thames River. Franklin continued to swim and teach others the skill well into his 70s.
Benjamin Franklin's love of reading also inspired him to write. He produced essays under a pseudonym, "Silence Dogood," when he apprenticed at his brother's newspaper. It was his apprenticeship that led to his departure for America, which was when he felt compelled to exert his independence from his "tyrannical" older brother's harsh treatment at the newspaper.