Franklin’s Invention

With the 1739 invention of the Franklin Stove, Ben Franklin hoped to solve the problem of all the heat escaping through the chimney. He built his stove as part of the fire place. The iron stove would be located on the hearth, projecting out into the room so that the heat radiated from the stove.[1] Other stoves at the time would not use heat radiation as a way to warm up the air.

To deal with the loss of heat seen in other stoves Franklin created several devices within his stove. The first was called an air box. This air box was to be used to draw fresh air into the stove to stoke the fire.[2] The second device for the Franklin Stove was known as the Air Siphon. This was where the smoke and ash would be carried, first downward, and then up the chimney.[3] In order for this to work the air siphon had to be kept warm, which Franklin unfortunately did not include in is pamphlet. This would have led to confusion by those who tried to use the stove without having heated up the air siphon first. It is not natural for the smoke to go downwards.

This is how Walt Disney’s Animators saw the invention: [kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /][4]


[1] Seymour Stanton Block, Benjamin Franklin, Genius of Kites, Flights and Voting Rights (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co, 2004), 110.

[2] I. Bernard Cohen, Benjamin Franklin’s Science (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990), 205.

[3]   Block, Benjamin Franklin, Genius of Kites, Flights and Voting Rights, 113.

[4]Walt Disney Productions, Ben and Me. Burbank, Calif: Walt Disney Productions, 1953.

Accessed on youtube. Accessed April 11, 2011.

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