Thursday, December 31, 2015


This is a repeat of last year's post.  I am reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Benjamin Franklin, so the maxims are even more meaningful (to me).  Have a healthy, wealthy and wise 2016!

Child's 7 inch plate "Experience keeps a dear school/But fools will learn in no other."

Benjamin Franklin is famous for lots of maxims (proverbs or sayings) that encourage good behavior and offer good advice, and many are found on plates and mugs made for children.  I thought I'd show some that have morphed into my New Year's resolutions.  "Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other," is one of my favorite maxims.  I have often wanted to say it to friends and family, but knew it would offend.  So, I use it to remind myself that I am never too old to be foolish.   Or, "Dost Thou Love Life Then Do Not Squander Time.  There Will Be Sleeping Enough In The Grave."  I shall remember not to waste the time I have left. 

Child's Plate, "Dost Thou Love Life Then Do Not Squander Time/There Will Be Sleeping Enough In The Grave"

Franklin's maxims about work are priceless (I have used this word on purpose): "Keep thy shop and thy shop will keep thee" is something I remind myself often.   This maxim is supported by another: "If you would have your business done go if not send."

"Dr. Franklin's Maxims" child's plate "Keep thy shop and thy
Three views of a child's "Franklin's Maxims" mug "Not to oversee workmen is to leave them your purse open./The eye of the master is worth both his hands."

The tiny plates below offer big advice!

Child's 3 inch plate "If you would have a faithful Servant & one that you like serve yourself"
Child's small plate "If you would know the value of money try to borrow some"
The maxims are from Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack, which he first published under the name Richard Saunders in 1732,  and continued to publish for about 25 years.  The sayings were and remain immensely popular.  Some of the sayings were illustrated as early as 1795 by Bowles and Carver with the title Bowles's Moral Pictures, or Poor Richard Illustrated.  Another version was made soon after by the artist Robert Dighton and engraved by Oliver Pelton.  These illustrations were called Poor Richard Illustrated. Lessons for the Young and Old on Industry, Temperance, Frugality &c. by Benjamin Franklin.  (I love the over-long title).

I am showing the poster or broadsheet below so that I can underscore the fact that Franklin intended his maxims for the old as well as the young.  They have guided me all of my life, although I haven't always heeded the advice!

Poor Richard Illustrated

Although not all of the illustrations for the maxims on the plates and mugs are copied from the poster above, many are.  The pattern on the plate below is the second from the left on the third row down.  The illustration for the maxim on the first plate shown above, "Experience keeps a dear school/But fools will learn in no other," is on the bottom right.

Child's five inch plate "Poor Richard's Maxim's (sic) I never saw an oft remove tree nor yet an oft removed family that did so well as those that settled be.  Three removes are as bad as a fire & a rolling stone gathers no moss."
"A rolling stone gathers no moss," found on the plate above, is one of my favorite sayings.  I'll end with two more of my favorites.  What I think of as "words to live by."  They are: "Make Hay While The Sun Shines" and "For Want Of A Nail The Shoe Was Lost."

Child's 2.5 inch yellow glazed mug "Make Hay While The Sun Shines"
Child's plate "Franklin's Maxims/Want of care does more damage than want of knowledge. For want of a nail the shoe was lost & for want of a shoe the Horse was lost."
My New Year's resolutions are connected to the maxims above.  I tend to forget my New Year's resolutions, so hopefully the maxims and the transferware will remind me.   HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!

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