--Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828
300th Birthday of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
American Renaissance man. He is best remembered for his contribution to American independence and for his wise, often humorously ironic, sayings, such as, "All would live long, but none would be old." An inveterate inventor, he devised bifocal glasses, the odometer, and swim fins, and he helped introduce to America the catheter tube, a windsurfing apparatus, the public library, and the notion of matching gifts in charity fund-raising. He also charted the paths of storms over North America and discovered the course of the Gulf Stream. As a publisher, he printed America's first political cartoon and some of its earliest editorials. At age twenty-two, he composed this cheerful epitaph for himself, which he revised a number of times: "The body of B. Franklin, Printer (like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stript of its lettering and gilding) lies here, food for worms. But the work shall not be lost; for it will (as he believ'd) appear once more in a new and more elegant edition revised and corrected by the Author."