[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.******