Friday Fact: A Tip of the Hat to Mr. James Boyle-Inventor


[Illustration from Strange Stories, Amazing Facts  (A Reader’s Digest book we found in the dumpster! Also where I got the idea.)]

It must have sometimes been vexing to be a man in Victorian times.  A proper Victorian fellow would always tip his hat to the ladies, even if it wasn’t convenient to do so at the time—if, say, he was carrying an armload of groceries.  How annoying to have to put your parcels down just to tip your hat!

But in 1896, Mr. James Boyle of Washington State came to the rescue of exhausted Victorian gentlemen everywhere when he invented the “self-tipping hat.”  It worked by way of a lifting mechanism activated by the wearer when they bowed “to the person saluted.”  Here are Mr. Boyle’s own words:

“Much valuable energy is utilized in tipping the hat repeatedly and my device will relieve one of it and at once cause the hat to be lifted from the head in a natural manner. It is a novel device, in other words, for effecting polite salutations by the elevation and rotation of the hat on the head of the saluting party, when said person bows to the person saluted, the actuation of the hat being produced by the mechanism within it and without the use of the hands in any manner.”

Well.  His verbosity notwithstanding, I salute Mr. Boyle for his part in “effecting polite salutations” and for saving “much valuable energy.”  I’m all for that!  In fact, I’d like to tip my hat to him.  🙂


*****A quick note to all of you kind people who inquired concerning my well-being following my bear-hug rib injury:  I am better, I think, thank God.  It stills hurts a bit when I breathe, and I still can’t do any heavy lifting without pain, but the pain is manageable with my favorite wonder drug Excedrin.  (In fact, though I wrote a poem about gathering firewood in my last post, I actually wasn’t able to carry logs this year.)  I did have a bit of a setback last week after a sudden sneeze, but I’m better now (though praying I won’t catch a cold anytime soon!)

So, hopefully, I shall soon be back to my old log totin’ ways.  Thank you for your concern, your thoughts, and your prayers.  I am grateful for them.******


9 Responses to “Friday Fact: A Tip of the Hat to Mr. James Boyle-Inventor”

  1. June Says:

    Isn’t this funny given today’s customs and the fact that we barely hold doors for one another, let alone “salute” each other. I sort of wish those niceties were still in vogue. But, given the look of it, it’s not surprising that Mr. Doyle’s contraption never took off…it looks pretty uncomfortable…but I give him an “A” for effort 🙂 Great FF…and good to hear you’re feeling better.

  2. lucky pennies Says:

    That’s awesome! You know what it sounds like? Something lazy ole Benjamin would invent.

    PS: You used the word “vexing” in a post! *claps*

  3. Rhea Says:

    I read about this hat-tipping device a while ago. I love this kind of stuff. Reminds me of the time I recommended to my blog readers that they change careers and become phrenologists.

  4. CountryDew Says:

    I am glad you’re feeling better but a little concerned that you’ve had that pain for so long w/o seeing about it.

    Nice entry for your Friday Facts.

  5. marion Says:

    Can only imagine the look on the face of the person meeting up with Mr. Automatic Hat Tipper, when, with a barely audible mechanical sound, the hat tips all by itself, leaving the tippee to run screaming down the street…

  6. colleen Says:

    What will they think of next! (a log splitter that lifts the logs into the guillotine maybe.) Good to hear that you’re mending.

  7. ben (aka guitarmaniac) Says:

    So what about one that automatically makes you smile?
    I think people really need that!
    Perhaps a modified pair of botched dentures… ;-| … maybe 🙂

    But sounds like you’re still able to do that (something I appreciate in you).
    See you come Thanksgiving!

  8. Alex Says:

    He died of radiation exposure.

  9. MrsDonut Says:

    Anyone have any updates on this? Wish to know more.

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