Posted by: Sylvia, aka Shucky | October 3, 2013

Where they came from…

Early aircraft’s throttles had a ball on the end of it,
in order to go full throttle the pilot had to push the
throttle all the way forward into the wall of the
instrument panel. Hence “balls to the wall”

for going very fast. And now you know,
the rest of the story.

During WWII , U.S. airplanes were armed with
belts of bullets which they would shoot during
dogfights and on strafing runs. These belts were
folded into the wing compartments that fed their
machine guns. These belts measure 27 feet and
contained hundreds of rounds of bullets. Often times,
the pilots would return from their missions having
expended all of their bullets on various targets.
They would say, I gave them the whole nine
yards, meaning they used up all of their ammunition.


In George Washington’s days, there were no cameras.
One’s image was either sculpted or painted. Some
paintings of George Washington showed him standing

behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others
showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by
painters were not based on how many people were to be
painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted.
Arms and legs are ‘limbs,’ therefore painting them would
cost the buyer more. Hence the expression, ‘Okay, but
it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.’ (Artists know hands

and arms are more difficult to paint.)

As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths
only twice a year (May and October). Women kept their
hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of
lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford
good wigs made from wool. They couldn’t wash the wigs,
so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread,
put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The
heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term
‘big wig’. Today we often use the term ‘here comes the
Big Wig’ because someone appears to be or is powerful
and wealthy.

In the late 1700’s, many houses consisted of a large room
with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded
down from the wall, and was used for dining. The ‘head of
the household’ always sat in the chair while everyone else
ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was

usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during
a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and
in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the ‘chair
man.’ Today in business, we use the expression or title
‘Chairman’ or ‘Chairman of the Board.’

Personal hygiene left much room for improvement. As a
result, many women and men had developed acne scars
by adulthood. The women would spread bee’s wax over
their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When
they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to
stare at another woman’s face she was told, ‘mind your
own bee’s wax.’ Should the woman smile, the wax would
crack, hence the term ‘crack a smile’. In addition, when
they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt.
Therefore, the expression ‘losing face.’

Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the
front. A proper and dignified woman, as in
‘straight laced’ wore a tightly tied lace.

Common entertainment included playing cards.
However, there was a tax levied when purchasing
playing cards but only applicable to the ‘Ace of Spades.’


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