One book leads to another...

Monday, April 20, 2020

A to Z Historic Trivia - Q


Quacksalver. Now there’s a word I bet you haven’t heard in a while, if ever. As far back as 1579, folks were sometimes skeptical of medical professionals. Isn’t it good to know there’s a lot more education required these days?

Quackenbush Rifles were created by Henry (not to be confused with Dennis) Quackenbush and sold as “Boys Rifles” between 1893 and 1920, along with several other models of air guns. Depending on model and condition, these rifles fetch a pretty (resale) penny.

Quicksilver is another name for mercury. Used as a verb, it could mean rapid or unpredictable movement or change. The Latin term is literally living silver. I may have to rethink the title of one of my books. Sigh.
Fresh out of art school, an ambitious young Londoner named Mary Quant began designing and making such unique clothing for herself that others couldn’t help noticing. Orders poured in, and before long (1955), she opened a boutique called Bazaar on Kings Road. With a focus on accessible clothing at an affordable price, her clients were more like colleagues to whom she gave full credit for the iconic Mini Skirt idea she claims they came up with as they demanded the creation of shorter and shorter skirt and dress lengths.
When I poked around for Quid Pro Quo examples – other than the sort we seem to always hear about, I didn’t expect to be surprised or interested in the results. Then, I ran across a paragraph I doubt I’ll ever forget:

In 1654, the expression quid pro quo was used to generally refer to something done for personal gain or with the expectation of reciprocity in the text The Reign of King Charles: An History Disposed into Annalls, with a somewhat positive connotation. It refers to the covenant with Christ as something "that prove not a nudum pactum, a naked contract, without quid pro quo." Believers in Christ have to do their part in return, namely "forsake the devil and all his works."
I feel reasonably fortunate having never seen a porcupine up close. Did you know that each quill is equipped with a topical antibiotic to prevent accidental infection of the porcupine? Evidently, you never know where those barbs are going go, and each quill has overlapping barbs, which makes removal all the more painful.

Happy Monday!


  1. Hi, diedre!

    I'm glad we enjoyed each other's comments on Saturday's "P" post, dear friend. :)

    I have heard and used the word quack many times over the years, but did not realize it is the abbreviated form of quacksalver, a word I never heard or used. My spellcheck doesn't even recognize it. From this point on I vow to work "quacksalver" into conversations on a daily basis. :)

    I remember my big brother having an air gun when I was very young and we lived in the country. Do you remember the psychedelic rock band Quicksilver aka Quicksilver Messenger Service? I remember seeing the band's distinctive album covers in dorm rooms and off campus apartments during my college years:

    In my early years of blogging I had several fashionista friends in the UK and Australia. Their posts frequently discussed style icon Mary Quant.

    Mrs. Shady and I are currently watching the TV lawyer series Boston Legal for the second time, having just completed its "prequel" The Practice. I refer to The Practice as a prequel because it introduced the character Alan Shore who made James Spader a television star and ensured that audiences would follow him to his new law firm at Boston Legal when The Practice ended. Both legal dramas make frequent use of Quid Pro Quo. I was not aware of its positive connotation in Christianity.

    As a boy I dreamed of joining the circus and becoming a porcupine juggler. Maybe it's not too late to follow that dream. :)

    Have a safe and happy Monday, dear friend diedre!

    1. Hi Shady!

      I'm with you on the word "Quack" I wonder why it only seems to apply to one profession?

      I sure do remember Quicksilver Messenger! I spent an entire summer playing "Fresh Air" over and over again ;-) I couldn't tell you just why that was now...

      A porcupine juggler - Ha! Too funny, my friend.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Quacksalver! I am going to remember that one.

    1. Hi Alex!

      I'm sure I will as well. And to think I was going for Quaker Oats ;-)

      Good to see you, Captain!

  3. I know quicksilver and Quid Pro Quo, but the others were new to me.

    1. Hi Natalie!

      I learned something new every place I went on this one ;-) I'm quite sure my browsing history is a head-scratcher to some.

      Thanks for coming by!


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