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John Derbyshire Glass vase 1876

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Bernard C:
Anne — thanks for confirming that I was on the right lines.

Unfortunately I have a Chambers 20th Century Dictionary, impressive in weight, but not in content.   It completely lacks marver, noun or verb, describes codswallop as origin unknown — not surprisingly, as it would have helped if they had spelled it correctly, only mentions spall in connection with chips of rock, with no mention of flint, fire or early matches, and categorically denies any connection between spell and spill.

It does not take more than a few years to realise that some of the entries or non-entries in Chambers are a load of coddswallop!   What really hurts is that about ten years ago I missed out on a bargain copy of the two volume tiny print version of the OED, the one that came with a powerful magnifying glass.

If you want to pencil in the correction, Hiram Codd of Camberwell patented his initial design in November 1870, with further patents subsequently improving the design, until his September 1872 patent produced the design with which we are all familiar, with the marble confined to its own chamber.   Coddswallop / Codd's wallop is simply a derogatory term used by strong beer drinkers to describe the contents of Codd bottles.

Bernard C.  8)

Yes, there are interesting variations in various dictionaries.

Note that the spelling below has only one "d". Was there an earlier version of the word spelled as "coddswallop" or even as two separate words? I have no idea where the OED date 1875 came from - see below.

Concise Oxford English, Tenth Edition, 2001:

--- Quote ---Codswallop - n. Brit. Informal nonsense.
- ORIGIN 1960s: origin uncertain, but perh. named after Hiram Codd, who invented a bottle for fizzy drinks (1875).
--- End quote ---

And for Spill etc.:

--- Quote ---Spell (4) - n. a splinter of wood
- ORIGIN ME: perh. a var. of obs. speld 'chip, splinter'.

Spill (2) - n. a thin strip of wood or paper used for lighting a fire, pipe, etc.
- ORIGIN ME: obscurely related to SPILE.

Spile n. - 1.  a small wooden peg or spigot ...
- ORIGIN C16: from MDu., Mid. Low Ger., 'wooden peg'
--- End quote ---

Isn't language fun.  :)

And while I'm on the subject, why do so many people not understand the proper use of an apostrophe in the written form of: "it's"? It's quite simple to remember - it's only used if it's a shortened version of 'it is' or 'it has'.  (So says an English guy who almost failed the basic school English Language examination)  :roll:

American English - Websters Encyclopedic 1994

SPILL a roll or cone of paper serving as a container. From ME spille 'wooden splinter'

Its  :x a good idea to allow language to evolve els we wil al sound de same. Shorter words save trees :lol:

Bernard C:
Kevin — I was, perhaps, a little hard on Chambers re the spelling.   Most new words started life in the spoken language, with their first appearances in print much later, and often with considerable variation in spelling.   See Bryson Made in America for a concentrated and fascinating discussion on this.

Hiram Codd was a prolific patentor of designs, possibly not just limited to his famous bottle.   I have no doubt that there was a Codd patent of 1875 as the OED suggests, but it was the September 1872 patent that produced the bottle design we all recognise today.   Alan Cox, in his Northamptonshire Froth & Fizz, claims that around 700–800 patents for pop bottle closures were taken out during the period 1871–1885.   I doubt whether even the most enthusiastic OED researcher would have examined them all.   The only major improvement to the Codd bottle was the twin indentations to retain the stopper, developed by Barnett & Foster in the 1890s.

Bernard C.  8)


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