Brits Selling “Imitation Liquor” to High School Kids in Maine? Keep Up with your Zipper!


No Drinking in Class!!


Imitation Liquor?

No Booze for the Kids!  Seems that Fentimans has been selling lemonade in Great Britain for over 100 years.  It marketed their product as Fentiman’s Victorian Lemonade.  They say that its effervescent and” it’s not cloyantly sweet…you don’t even notice the sugar.”  Apparently, you also don’t notice the booze.  The company encourages one to “drink it straight”  or to “use it as a mixer with gin, vodka,  Pimm’s N0. 1 Cup or any other cocktail that uses bitter lemon.”    What they don’t say is to take it to school and apparently a school in Maine objected to a kid having a kid of Fentiman’s Victorian Lemonade with 0.5% alcohol.   Apparenlty, the kid in question had it in school and looked at the bottle’s label and noticed the alcohol content.  He didn’t want to get into trouble so he took it to the teacher. Since he had no intent to break school rules, he was not disciplined,which is a far cry from the case of the kid who got suspended for bringing a pocket knife to school.  End of story? No. That’s because according to the Bangor Daily News, “officials from the Aroostook Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and the Maine Alliance to Prevent Substance Abuse recently learned that a Houlton High School student brought a bottle of Fentimans Victorian Lemonade to school that was purchased at a local store.”  In other words, another group of do-gooders can’t just leave well enough alone.  Perhaps this will start another War of 1812.

Who Invented It?

Who Invented It?

On This Date in History:

Back in the day, there were no zippers. Pants were fastened in the front with buttons. For some reason, some jean manufacturers have gone retro with buttons. But, zippers are everywhere. Quite handy, they are. There have been some attempts to improvement with the space age velcro but the original zipper just keeps zipping along. It has been described as one of industrial America’s “most successful products.” It’s one of those little items that, if you think about it, would make you a fortune if you owned the patent. But, the genesis of the device did not exactly slide along…there were hitches.

Whitcomb Judson-Quit Too Soon

Whitcomb Judson-Quit Too Soon

In 1891, Whitcomb Judson applied for a patent for “Clasp Locker or Un-Locker for Shoes.” The patent office had never heard of such a thing, he got the go ahead. He teamed up with the only person who saw any promise in the apparatus, Col. Lewis Walker. Walker set up the Universal Fastener Company in 1894 as a manufacturing source. Trouble was, they couldn’t develop a machine to make the contraption until 1905. Walker scheduled a demonstration, ordered a keg of beer and I guess everyone got drunk because the machine didn’t work. Back to the proverbial drawing board they went and Judson came up with a simpler version of the fastener. The called it the C-Curity fastener. They advertised with the slogan, “A pull and it’s done! No more open skirts…ask the girl!” Well, they should have asked the girl first because the fasteners tended to pop open at most unintended times. The whole campaign and the product became a joke and Judson quit in humiliation.

Sundbach's (Sundback) 1917 Patent

Sundback's Patent

Walker continued on working through meager personal financial times and came up with the prototype for the modern zipper in 1913. However, saying Walker was “working” on it is a bit of a misnomer. See, he was a entrepreneur and lawyer, not a tinkerer. Judson was the one who did all of the work. Walker’s company, the Universal Fastener Company, had hired Swedish

Gideon Sundbach-Not Left Out

Gideon Sundback-Not Left Out

engineer Gideon Sundback (aka Gideon Sundbach) who is the one who perfected the zipper and it worked wonderfully. But, memories were long and people remembered the garment opening experience with the C-Curity fastener. On This date in 1914, the first true zipper, the Hookless No. 2 was sold. But the sales mainly were for actors costumes and novelty items. The public relied on the trusty button…that is until 1917. That is when a tailor made money belts for sailors with zippers. The moniker “zipper” was attached by BF Goodrich…the tire guy. They made galoshes and put the fasteners on them, though I can’t imagine how practical that was since galoshes generally get wet and I bet the original zippers were made of steel that rusted. Anyway, BF Goodrich promoted the product by exclaiming “Zip’er Up, Zip’er down!” Zippers became the trademark for the galoshes. Even though the overshoes went out of style, the zipper carried on….and carried Colonel Lewis Walker all the way to the bank. He owned the company and got the money while Gideon, who was given the patent, got credit….hopefully that credit was not backed by sub-prime mortgages.


Black a benificiary of the sage Hambright Advice

Unlike other stories in which the guy who does the work gets the shaft, Gideon Sundback also invented a good machine to mass produce the zippers. Zippers were mainly used in Tobacco pouches and boots until the 1930’s when the zipper came into widespread use in clothes. Sundback ran his own company, the Lightning Fastener Company…so everyone did well with the zipper…except for Judson whose fate reminds me of what my old Junior High Football Coach, Granville Hambright, used to say. “A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.”  One guy who learned under the tutelage of Coach Hambright and did not quit but perservered and it led to great success was none other than Clint Black, who sat next to me in Mrs. Wagner’s art class.  Maybe coach was on to something.


Friday Morning-Triple Point Near

HPC QPF (rain total forecast Wed Eve. thru Sat Evening)

HPC QPF (Forecast Rain Total Wed Eve. thru Sat Eve)

Weather Bottom Line:   Look for a period of excessive rain to end the week. In other words, Halloween looks like it will suck, which is fine with Snow White because she can’t stand the day.  Oh and by the way…these news people keep on referring to it as a holiday. It’s not a holiday!  Silly day maybe..but holiday NO! Anway,  as I had mentioned previously, we have a situation of strong convergence in the lower Mississippi Valley.  It is in this region that the SPC has the slight risk for Severe Thunderstorms for Thursday morning into Friday morning.  That is not so much the issue for us.  We had generally over an inch of rain on Tuesday night, which was a little bit of a victory for me considering that I had called for the main rain on Tuesday night but got bit on the backside with the light rain that fell from midday into the late afternoon on Tuesday.  Anyway, The main storm system is lifting up to the north into the northern plains.  As it does so, it is becoming a mature system which means it is developing an occluded front.  Typically, that means slowing down.  And that is the problem.


GFS Rain Accumulation Thru Midday Sat

All of that convergence to our south is bringing in all sorts of Gulf of Mexico moisture.  As we go through Thursday, that moisture will be surging up the Mississippi River Valley into the Ohio River Valley over the top of a warm front  Boom…there is the rain.  Now, the occluded front extending down from the slow moving main low to the north will be crawling and the triple point of the occluded front, the warm front and the cold front will be quite near.  I would not be surprised to see a secondary low begin to develop just to our southwest at this triple point.   All of this means is that its gonna rain.  We may get too much rain or we may get way too much rain. 


NAM Rain Accumulation Thru Midday Sat

The GFS is more bullish with rain totals of about 2.5 inches through midday on Saturday.  The NAM is more tame at about 1.25″ through midday on Saturday.  But, in both cases, the main channel of even more excessive rain is just to our west.  The Hydrological Prediction Center has its QPF total (quantitative precipitation forecast) for Wednesday night through Saturday night has Louisville getting about 1.5 inches of rain.  BUT…you only have to go to the western part of Southern Indiana…about half way between Louisville and St. Louis…to get to a forecast amount of around 4 inches.  Given that forecasts are not always that accurate this far out and with that type of certainty regarding coverage areas (which is understandable given that the earth is 25000 miles around so 100 miles is not that big of an error) then it is reasonable to assume that we at least have a risk for excessive rain.  The National Weather Service has made such a preliminary suggestion.  Given that it is not out of the question that a low could form on that triple point nearby, I would say that it is at least something worth considering.  In any event….you may want to find an alternative for trick or treaters or at least give them some sort of plastic covering…and maybe something warm as it will probably be fairly cool to go along with the dampness.


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