2006 39¢ Statesman
Issue Date: April 7, 2006
City: Philadelphia, PA
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: Serpentine die cut 11
U.S. #4021-24 commemorate Benjamin Franklin’s 300th birth anniversary.
In 1736, Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) started his government career as clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly. In 1757, Pennsylvania sent him to London to speak for the colony.
Back home in 1775, he served in the Second Continental Congress and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. In 1778, Franklin was appointed U.S. Minister to France. At 81, he served in the Constitutional Convention, his last major public service in a long life dedicated to his country.
Self-educated, Franklin was interested in a wide variety of subjects. His experiment while flying a kite during a thunderstorm proved that lightning is electricity. Some of his practical inventions are still in use, like the lightning rod and bifocal eyeglasses. Franklin was a skilled printer. At 24, he had his own print shop.
He was appointed official printer of Pennsylvania in 1730, printing currency, laws, and documents for the colony. In the 1730s, Franklin began writing and publishing Poor Richard's Almanack, full of wise sayings and advice about the weather and planting. The Almanack appeared yearly for 25 years, selling more than 10,000 copies a year.
Franklin served as Postmaster of Philadelphia from 1737 to 1753. In 1753, he became Deputy Postmaster General for all the British colonies. Under Franklin, routes were surveyed, milestones placed, and more direct routes set up. He served the Crown until he was dismissed in 1774 for his support of independence for the colonies. In 1775, he was appointed by the Second Continental Congress as its first Postmaster General.