February: Franklin’s first attack of gout.
July 29: In a letter to Peter Collinson, Franklin described and proposed lightning rods as a means to protect buildings from fire
December 23: Franklin was severely shocked, while electrocuting a turkey.
February: Franklin successfully lobbied for legislation from the Pennsylvania Assembly that provided for both public and private funding for the first hospital in Pennsylvania
April: John Fothergill, M.D., an English physician and scientist, collected, edited, and wrote a preface to Franklin’s writings on electricity, which were published under the title, Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America
May 9: Franklin elected a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly (reelected annually until 1764)
July 26: Franklin put forward a plan to establish the first fire insurance company in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Contributionship (formally organized on September 7)
February 6: Pennsylvania Hospital opened at Eighth and Spruce Streets in Philadelphia
May 8: Franklin’s mother died in Boston, aged eighty-four.
May 10: The “sentry-box” experiment, suggested by Franklin to prove that lightning is electrical, is successfully carried out in Marly, France, by M. Dalibard.
June: Franklin, who has not yet heard of the French success, experiments with flying a kite in a thunderstorm, and also proves that lightning is electrical in nature
September: Franklin equipped his house with a lightning rod, connecting it to bells that ring when the rod is electrified
October 19: Franklin explained how to perform kite experiment in the Pennsylvania Gazette
December 8: Franklin designed a flexible catheter for brother John, who was suffering from a bladder stone
August 10: Franklin appointed joint Deputy Postmaster General of North America.
May 9: Disturbed by increasing French pressure along the western frontier, Franklin designed and printed a cartoon of snake cut into sections, over the heading "Join or Die," in the Pennsylvania Gazette
(often credited as America’s first political cartoon).
June through July: Franklin attended the Albany Congress as a representative from Pennsylvania. He proposed a union of the colonies to provide for common defense against the French.
August 17: The Pennsylvania Assembly rejected the Albany Plan, as did the other colonies and the British government.
November 25-27: Franklin’s militia bill for Pennsylvania was adopted by the Assembly
January 17: Franklin turned 50
March 9: Pennsylvania Assembly passed Franklin’s bill for providing night watchmen and street lighting for Philadelphia
March 21: Franklin met George Washington, on his way to Virginia on post office business.
February 3: Pennsylvania Assembly elected Franklin its agent in presenting its grievances to the Penn family proprietors and the British government
June 23-26 July Franklin wrote “The Way to Wealth” (at sea)
July 26: Franklin arrived in London, and on July 30, he took lodgings at No. 7 (now No. 36) Craven Street with Mrs. Margaret Stevenson, a widow.
July: Franklin visited his ancestral homes at Ecton and Banbury in July with his son William, collecting genealogical information.
December 2: Franklin invented a damper for stoves or chimneys.
February 12: University of St. Andrews awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws to Franklin in absentia; Franklin was subsequently referred to as Dr. Franklin