A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 30, 2015
“Franklin may have discovered electricity, but the meter inventor made the money”

"Old Ben Franklin may have discovered electricity, but it took that lad who invented the meter to capitalize on it” is a jocular one-line saying that has been frequently reprinted. The line appeared in a Kansas newspaper in 1956.

New York nightlife columnist Earl Wilson (1907-1987) used the line in columns in 1963 and 1970, but Wilson didn’t use it first. American jurist and politician Earl Warren (1891-1974) is frequently credited, most probably as a mistaken credit for Earl Wilson.


5 July 1956, Belleville (KS) Telescope, “Literary Indigestion of The Kansas Press,” pg. 1B, col. 2:
Old Ben Franklin may have discovered electricity, but it took that lad who invented the meter to capitalize on it.—Augusta Gazette.

Google News Archive
13 December 1963, Beaver County (PA) Times, “Earl Wilson on Gay Broadway,” pg. 13, col. 6:
EARL’S PEARLS: Benjamin Franklin may have discovered electricity—but it was the man who invented the meter who made all the money.—Quote.

Google News Archive
26 April 1964, Reading (PA) Eagle, “My Favorite Jokes” by Johnny Carson, Parade magazine, pg. 16, col. 3:
Benjamin Franklin may have discovered electricity, but the man who invented the meter made all the money.

Google Books
Jokes, Puns, and Riddles
By David Allen Clark
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1968
Pg. 57:
Benjamin Franklin may have discovered electricity, but the man who invented the meter made all the money.

Google News Archive
3 October 1970, Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune, “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 4-B, col. 6:
REMEMBERED QUOTE: ‘Ben Franklin may have discovered electricity—but it was the man who invented the meter who made the money.”

Google Books
1800 Quotes, Quips, and Squibs
By E. C. McKenzie
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House
1972
Pg. 24:
Benjamin Franklin may have discovered electricity but the man who invented the meter made all the money.

Google Books
The Complete Book of Zingers
By Croft M. Pentz
Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers
1990
Pg. 214:
Benjamin Franklin may have discovered electricity, but it was the man who invented the meter who made all the money.

Twitter
Visionary Quotes
‏@ProphecyVision
Ben Franklin may have discovered electricity- but it is the man who invented the meter who made the money. - Earl Warren
10:00 PM - 10 Jun 2015

Twitter
AEHR
‏@AEhumanresource
Benjamin Franklin may have discovered electricity, but it was the man who invented the meter who made the money. Earl Wilson
9:51 AM - 12 Jun 2015

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Tuesday, June 30, 2015 • Permalink