Thursday, July 13, 2006

Trivia Thursday - Plimsoll

I haven't written about trivia for quite some time. Thus I shower you today with trivia about Plimsoll (he he).

Plimsoll stands here for:
  • Samuel Plimsoll, a British politician, who's tireless campaigning ended Victorian shipping malpractice and saved thousands of sailors' lives.
  • The Plimsoll Line, or Plimsoll Mark on as ship's hull.
  • The Plimsoll Shoe, which is linked to the above, as you will see later on.
The entire Plimsoll universe is linked somehow. All started at sea:
In the mid-19th century one British mariner in five died at sea. Mortality among sailors was higher than in any other occupation and between 1861 and 1870, 5,826 ships were wrecked off the British coast with the loss of 8,105 lives. Vessels were either overloaded and unstable, or were in such a poor state of repair that they inevitably sank. Unscrupulous shipowners could profit by deliberately over-insuring these "coffin ships" knowing that they were likely to founder.
It took Samuel Plimsoll six turbulent years, during which his health suffered, his sanity was questioned and libel cases piled up against him, Plimsoll's legacy was secured when the 1876 Merchant Shipping Act was passed. His simple solution to the problem was a line drawn on the ship's hull, which indicated the level of maximum submergence - the Plimsoll Line.

But how is this related to shoes? A Plimsoll Shoe is an early type of training shoe with a canvas upper and rubber sole, developed as beachwear in the 1830s by the Liverpool Rubber Company (later to become Dunlop), was first called the 'sand shoe', and they were named Plimsolls in 1876 by a salesman, because submerging them above their rubber trim results in disaster.



Do you still want to know more? Read the The Plimsoll Sensation by Nicolette Jones.

3 comments:

Toño said...

Now I know what were you doing in the bath this morning with one of your Plimsoll Shoes.

I muss confess I thought that the beatiful stone floor was too cold and you wanted to put your delicate feet on it...

This is a real interesting story. I thank you for your contribution my angel.

Ms Mac said...

As a wee lassie starting school on the west coast of Scotland, plimsolls were required sports uniform attire. We called then sandshoes though. And it was shorted to sannies. My dad always called them plimsolls, shortened to plimmers.

My school sannies were all white, and you could also buy clack ones of the same style. Coloured sannies such as yours didn't become fashionable for some time.

And just as an extra anecdote about our sannies, my Mum once got fed up of us losing our sport shoes and wrote our names in felt pen along the side. Despite that, my sister still managed lose her sannies. One day my mum was called into school by the head mistress where she was shown my sister's shoes only to find that a girl had stolen them, scored out my sister's name and written her own name on them quite neatly on top of my sister's name. My mum was given money from the school to buy my sister new sannies that day and the head mistress was extremely embarrassed.

More than you evere wanted to know about our sandshoes, I'm sure!

Expat Traveler said...

ok - that was just way cool information. Yeah! I love it...thanks for letting me learn something I should already have known. :)