1956 3¢ Benjamin Franklin and Electricity
Issue Date: January 17, 1956
City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 10 ½ x 11
Color: Bright carmine
The design of U.S. #1073 comes from a painting by Benjamin West, called, “Franklin Taking Lightning from the Sky.” West and Franklin were close friends, with Franklin acting as godfather to West’s second son, also named Benjamin. The stamp was issued on the 250th anniversary of Franklin’s birth.
West’s painting was completed in 1805. Whether or not Franklin actually flew a kite in a lightning storm is disputed, although he definitely wrote about it. Franklin made a life-long study of electricity. He invented the lightning rod and made other notable advances.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-90)
Benjamin Franklin was an American statesman, writer, scientist, and inventor born in Boston, Massachusetts. He ran away to Philadelphia at age 17, and founded his own printing business there at age 24. Franklin published his famous Poor Richard’s Almanack from 1733 to 1758. Franklin was the only person to sign all four of the key documents in United States history: the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Peace with Great Britain, and the Constitution of the United States. Franklin also appointed to be the first U.S. Postmaster General in 1775. Ben Franklin was also an important inventor and scientist. He discovered lightning was electricity, and created such terms as armature, condenser, and battery.