Benjamin Franklin Invents Swimming Fin

Franklin was an avid swimmer and was well-known for his aquatic abilities as a youth and also as an adult.

The exact date for the invention is unknown, but Franklin wrote that he invented them in his youth. The fins, which were shaped like an artist’s palette, were worn on the hands.

An avid swimmer, Franklin was drawn to water at a young age and consistently promoted the healthy benefits of the exercise in his later writings. At the ripe old age of 11 he invented a pair of fins that, unlike today's modern flippers, were strapped to the swimmer's hands to help make each stroke more efficient. His contributions to the sport led to his posthumous induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Swim fins: Ben Franklin loved the water. Growing up in Boston, he was drawn to the sea and often dreamed of becoming a sailor. Ben learned to swim and became an expert swimmer. Wanting to increase his speed in the water, Franklin devised fins that he wore on his hands. The fins were shaped like lily pads or an artist's paint pallet and helped the swimmer attain greater speed with each stroke.