Benjamin Franklin took great interest in the promotion of spelling reform.
While living in London in 1768 he wrote A Scheme for a new Alphabet
and a Reformed Mode of Spelling in which he proposed a fairly accurate
phonetic system for spelling English. The alphabet was published in 1779 in
Franklin's Political, Miscellaneous, and Philosophical Pieces.
His new phonetic alphabet consisted all the lowercase letters of the Latin
alphabet, minus c, j, q, w, x, and y, which he thought redundant, plus six
new letters for sounds which he thought lacked unambiguous orthographic
representation. The other letters all adhered to the principle of one symbol
(or unique digraph) per one sound.
Franklin commissioned a type foundry to prepare a suitable type including
for the 6 new letters, but soon lost interest in his alphabet. The only
other person to show an interest was Noah Webster.
Double vowels represent long vowel sounds, e.g. aa = [ a: ] and
ii = [ i: ].
Only one accented letter appears in the alphabet: ê, which
represents the a in mane and lane.
Consonant combinations are used to represent such sounds as the
ch in chew and the j in jaw.
Franklin's Phonetic Alphabet
Much as the imperfections of the alphabet will admit of; the present bad
spelling is only bad because contrary to the present bad rules: under the
new rules it would be good -- the difficulty of learning to spell well in
the old way is so great, that few attain it; thousands and thousands writing
on to old age, without ever being able to acquire it. 'Tis, besides a
difficulty continually increasing; as the sound gradually varies more and
more from the spelling: and to foreigners.