191 Years After His Death, the Poet William Blake Is Getting a New Tombstone

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

William Blake’s final words before his death in 1827 are said to have been, “I am going to that country which I have all my life wished to see.” But for the better part of two centuries, Blake’s unmarked grave meant that his final resting place remained largely unseen and unvisited—until now.

During a special ceremony on August 12, a memorial stone will finally be placed on Blake’s grave in Bunhill Fields, London’s cemetery for nonconformists and religious dissenters, the Islington Tribune reports. Although his grave was located in 2006 using directional coordinates that had been logged by cemetery staff, it took some time for fans to reach a consensus on the new gravestone's inscription, which is an extract from his epic poem "Jerusalem."

The debate grew so heated that some punctuation purists quibbled over the apostrophes. One camp argued that the poet’s “eccentric” punctuation—or lack thereof—should be honored, while others said the proper apostrophes should be added in. The quote in question is: “I give you the end of a golden string / Only wind it into a ball / It will lead you in at Heavens gate / Built in Jerusalems wall.” (Ultimately, it was decided to leave the stanza untouched, apostrophes be damned.)

Although a memorial stone was erected in 1927 in honor of Blake’s memory, the language was rather vague, according to the book Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses, by Mental Floss editor Bess Lovejoy. The inscription read, “Nearby lie the remains of the poet-painter William Blake … and of his wife Catherine Sophia.” The stone did in fact mark Blake's location, and the "nearby" referred to his wife.

An older memorial marking the general area where William Blake is buried
Matthew Lloyd, Getty Images

However, in 1960, the stone was moved about 20 yards during cemetery renovations, and Blake’s grave once again went unmarked. It wasn’t until 2006 that two fans of Blake’s work, Luis and Carol Garrido, tracked down the exact location of Blake’s burial site—a common grave in which Blake lies buried beneath seven other bodies.

To fans of Blake, the memorial is a long overdue tribute to one of England's foremost poets. The gravestone unveiling ceremony on August 12 will feature musical performances, and 191 candles will be lit around Blake’s grave in commemoration of his death anniversary.

[h/t Islington Tribune]

This Smart Accessory Converts Your Instant Pot Into an Air Fryer

Amazon
Amazon

If you can make a recipe in a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or rice cooker, you can likely adapt it for an Instant Pot. Now, this all-in-one cooker can be converted into an air fryer with one handy accessory.

This Instant Pot air fryer lid—currently available on Amazon for $80—adds six new cooking functions to your 6-quart Instant Pot. You can select the air fry setting to get food hot and crispy fast, using as little as 2 tablespoons of oil. Other options include roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, and reheat.

Many dishes you would prepare in the oven or on the stovetop can be made in your Instant Pot when you switch out the lids. Chicken wings, French fries, and onion rings are just a few of the possibilities mentioned in the product description. And if you're used to frying being a hot, arduous process, this lid works without consuming a ton of energy or heating up your kitchen.

The lid comes with a multi-level air fry basket, a broiling and dehydrating tray, and a protective pad and storage cover. Check it out on Amazon.

For more clever ways to use your Instant Pot, take a look at these recipes.

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Thomas Edison’s First Patented Invention—a Voting Machine for Congress—Was a Total Flop

Sadly, Congress voted 'No' on using Thomas Edison's voting machine.
Sadly, Congress voted 'No' on using Thomas Edison's voting machine.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

On June 1, 1869, Thomas Edison patented his very first invention: a voting machine meant for Congress.

According to Rutgers University’s Thomas A. Edison Papers Project, the 22-year-old inventor might’ve been inspired to design the device after newspaper reports announced that both the New York state legislature and the city council of Washington, D.C., were investigating means of automating their ballot process. At the time, legislators voted by calling out “Yea” or “Nay” (or something of that nature), and a clerk jotted down their responses one by one.

Edison’s “electrographic vote-recorder” had the names of all the voters listed twice: in a “Yes” column on one side, and a “No” column on the other. When a person flipped a switch to indicate their vote, the machine would transmit the signal through an electric current and mark their name in the corresponding column, while keeping track of the total tally of votes on a dial. After everyone had voted, an attendant would place a sheet of chemically treated paper on top of the columns and press down on it with a metallic roller, imprinting the paper with the results.

thomas edison electrographic vote-recorder patent 1869
The sketch that accompanied Edison's patent.
U.S. Patent 0,090,646, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

A telegraph operator named Dewitt Roberts invested $100—about $1754 in today's dollars, according to Tech Times—in the device and set off for an exhibition on Capitol Hill. Alas, members of Congress were completely uninterested, and the committee chairman in charge of deciding its fate declared that “if there is any invention on earth that we don't want down here, that is it.”

The committee didn’t think the vote-recorder streamlined the process enough to be useful, but it’s possible they weren’t too keen on speeding things up in the first place. If the officials didn’t voice their votes aloud, there wouldn’t be any opportunity to filibuster policies or persuade each other to switch their stances—an integral part of congressional proceedings.

Edison, of course, recovered from his first flop. He went on to invent (or at least improve upon) the light bulb, create the cat video, and devise many more notable creations.