Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a renowned polymath and a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove. He facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia's fire department and the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution. Franklin earned the title of "The First American" for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity, initially as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies. As the first United States Ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation.
In early adulthood, Franklin became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies, publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette at the age of 23. He became wealthy publishing the Gazette and Poor Richard's Almanack. He was promoted to deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies in 1753, enabling him to establish the first national communications network. During the American Revolution, he became the first United States Postmaster General. From 1785 to 1788, he served as the sixth governor of Pennsylvania. He initially owned and dealt in slaves but, by the 1750s, he argued against slavery, becoming one of the most prominent abolitionists. His status as one of America's most influential Founding Fathers has seen Franklin honored on coinage, the $100 bill, and the names of many towns, counties, educational institutions, streets, warships, and corporations. In Philadelphia, the main sites named after Franklin include a suspension bridge crossing the Delaware River, a parkway, a science museum, an athletic field, a high school, an elementary school, and a city square.