Thursday, July 21, 2016

Things named after people

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Bakelite:


The world’s first synthetic plastic, it is also known as polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride, but I guess you already knew that. It was an early plastic that was quite sturdy and could withstand high temperatures. It was used for such items as radio cabinets, telephones and billiard balls.

Leo Baekeland, 1916.

Bakelite was developed by Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekeland in New York in 1907. Following its invention, Baekeland produced and sold the material from his home, with trhe Bakelite Corporation being formed in 1922.

The first semi-commercial Bakelizer, from Baekeland's laboratory
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Derringer


A derringer is a small pistol that is named after its inventor, Henry Deringer. His name was so often misspelled that after a while the misspelling became the generic name for all pocket pistols.


The original Deringer pistol was a single-shot muzzleloading pistol; with the advent of cartridge firearms, pistols began to be produced in the modern form still known as a derringer.

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Boycott


According to Wikipedia, a boycott is an act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for social or political reasons.


The word boycott is from the name of Captain Charles Boycott, the land agent of an absentee landlord, Lord Erne, who lived in County Mayo, Ireland. In 1880 poor harvests inspired Lord Erne to offer his tenants a 10% reduction in their rents. The tenants demanded a 25% reduction, which Lord Erne would not accept. Captain Boycott then sought to evict 11 tenants. In response the rest of the tenants stopped working, both in the fields and in the houses. Local businesses refused to work with him, the local postman refused to deliver mail to him and he was effectively isolated. Boycott was unable to hire anyone to harvest the crops.

his tenants a ten percent reduction in their rents. In September of that year, protesting tenants demanded a twenty five percent reduction, which Lord Erne refused. Boycott then attempted to evict eleven tenants from the land. Charles Stewart Parnell, in a speech in Ennis prior to the events in Lough Mask, proposed that when dealing with tenants who take farms where another tenant was evicted, rather than resorting to violence, everyone in the locality should shun them. While Parnell's speech did not refer to land agents or landlords, the tactic was first applied to Boycott when the alarm was raised about the evictions. Despite the short-term economic hardship to those undertaking this action, Boycott soon found himself isolated – his workers stopped work in the fields and stables, as well as in his house. Local businessmen stopped trading with him, and the local postman refused to deliver mail. Eventually 50 Orangemen from Cavan and Monaghan volunteered to do the work. They were escorted by one thousand policemen and soldiers, despite the fact that the local Land League leaders had said that there would be no violence from them, and in fact no violence materialised. This protection ended up costing far more than the harvest was worth. After the harvest, the "boycott" was successfully continued. Within weeks Boycott's name was everywhere and came to be applied generally to any deliberate ostracism.


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Mae West


Mae West was an American actress. It was also the name given to a flotation device by American military personnel, especially during World war 2. Despite extensive researches, I have been unable to determine how the actress’s name came to be applied to the buoyancy device.






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