December 13, 2010

I love old books! I mean really old. I like to go down the isles of vintage book stores with a cup of coffee in hand looking for the most weathered spine. I love the smell of the musty pages and even more the cracking sound the book makes when I open it! I think you get the point. Anyway, every once in awhile I will find one of these books that are not just fun to admire and decorate with, but also have good substance. Today was one of those days! I ran across a book published in 1943 titled, A Book about a Thousand Things. Page after page are interesting topics about the most random happenings. For instance...
What birds perch lengthwise on limbs?
How did "bungalow" originate?
How did the phrase "In the Limelight" originate?
How did "corduroy" originate
How many front toes does a parrot have?
I thought I would share the answer to one of the questions that I thought to be pretty cute.
Question: What is the rule of thumb? How did the saying originate?
Answer: Originally by "rule of thumb" literally meant measuring with the thumb. Centuries ago clothiers and carpenters regarded a thumb length to be equal to one inch. By extension "rule of thumb" is used today figuratively for any simple experience rather than scientific knowledge or exact formula. The thumb stopped being used for measurement in the seventeenth century when the ruler was invented.
A Book about a Thousand Things, George Stimpson
So to all my friends, my "rule of thumb".... Never judge a book by its cover.

1 comment:

  1. There is definitely something wonderful about old books. I always wonder who has held and read them.