Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Young Ben Franklin


1718 Ben Franklin, age 12, is apprenticed to his brother, James, a Boston printer.
1723 Franklin ran away to Philadelphia, where he found work at Samuel Keimer's printing house.
1728-1731 Franklin formed the first printing partnership. Published first edition of the Pennsylvania Gazette.
1732 Franklin published the first edition of Poor Richard's Almanack.

For our study of this part of Franklin's life, we decided to make our own paper. Franklin did not make his own paper, (although he did have investments in paper mills)  but Franklin's writing and publishing contributed to the American Revoluton. In Franklin's day papermaking was a difficult, time-consuming and expensive process. Paper was made from rags instead of wood and fabric in the colonies was scarce. Therefore, initially most of the paper used in the American colonies came from England, which meant that England could also control what and how much was published in the colonies. Once paper mills were constructed in Pennsylvania, Americans began to publish their ideas more widely and more frequently.
The ability to do this affected the progress of the American Revolution.
Since the colonies used cloth in their paper, we did a variation on our previous paper-making and used dried lint instead of paper as our base. Yes, lint. The kind you get from the drier. Don't be alarmed if you find hair in your dryer lint, especially if you have pets. Just blend it up and don't think about it.
 We found this material harder to work with, and if you want to do this for a craft, I would suggest adding half lint and half either paper fiber or dried plant material, such as dried flowers to give it more stability.
Paper made from dryer lint, while still wet.
I knew it was going to come out an ugly gray color, so I tried bleaching it white with a little bleach, but it did not work. Some tempra paint or paste food color might color it.
It really made them appreciate how hard it was to get the printed material out to the public in Colonial America.
 And, if you haven't already made a printing press, you could make one and use your new paper!

More about Ben Franklin: Ben Franklin and Electricity

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6 comments:

  1. Love the silhouette artwork on the cover of the book you featured.

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  2. dryer lint. seriously???
    you all are amazing! i learn every time i stop by. and now your kids aren't the only ones who appreciate the significance of printed material in Colonial America.

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  3. Love the lesson here on the fact that things were not as easy in the days before all our technology. Now that is the way to teach appreciation for those before us.

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  4. If you have the ability and are close enough, you should go to Colonial Williamsburg, it is such a great experience for all of the crafts of the time period.

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  5. Yes, Ticia, We had planned to go to Williamsburg, Jamestown and Roanoke on our way to our move to TN, but we didn't make it.
    Our kids actually like Jamestown more than Williamsburg the last time we went. I think they liked the ship docked there a lot.

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  6. I love it! Making paper from recycled paper was hard enough. When we study ole Ben next time, I'll just show my boys this post. ;) I'll check out printing press link- that looks really interesting.

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