BEFORE DEVOTING HIS energy almost completely to public life, Franklin applied his imagination and his mechanical ingenuity to the thrilling new field of electricity, and thereby gained an international fame which had a great effect on his subsequent career. Amid the excitement over Newton's great synthesis of natural phenomena and the sway of Locke's empiricism, Franklin turned naturally to a fascination with the world of matter and motion around him. While still a teen-ager in London, he met the founder of the British Museum, made friends with Henry Pemberton ( Newton's editor and popularizer), and to his lifelong regret barely missed an introduction to Sir Isaac himself. He undoubtedly learned the general principles of the new science in his early devouring of books in Boston, Philadelphia, and London printing shops, and soon applied them in simple ways to everyday problems of his business.
The first notable fruit of his scientific genius, however, was the Pennsylvania fireplace or Franklin stove, invented about 1740 and described in 1744 in a pamphlet typical of Franklin. In thirty-seven pages, Franklin explained the basic principles of heating, showed how the common methods were inefficient because they failed to take advantage of these principles, described the parts and construction of the Pennsylvania fireplace, explained its use,