I continued thus employed in my father’s business for two years, that is, till I was twelve years old; and my brother John, who was bred to that business, having left my father, married and set up for himself at Rhode Island: there was every appearance that I was destined to supply his place, and become a tallow-chandler.
But my dislike to the trade continuing, my father had apprehensions that if he did not put me to one more agreeable, I should break loose and go to sea, as my brother Josiah had done, to his great vexation. In consequence, he took me to walk with him and see joiners, bricklayers, turners, braziers, &c. at their work, that he might observe my inclination, and endeavour to fix it on some trade or profession that would keep me on land.
It has ever since been a pleasure to me to see good workmen handle their tools. And it has been often useful to me, to have learnt so much by it, as to be able to do some trifling jobs in the house when a workman was not at hand, and to construct little machines for my experiments at the moment when the intention of making these was warm in my mind.
My father determined at last for the cutler’s trade, and placed me for some days on trial with Samuel, son to my uncle Benjamin, who was bred to that trade in London, and had just established himself in Boston. But the sum he exacted as a fee for my apprenticeship displeased my father, and I was taken home again.
Benjamin Franklin (writing about his life in Boston circa 1718)
Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin (1771 to 1790)