Monday, December 28, 2015

The Funnies - Coals to Newcastle (1914)

Coals to Newcastle
Life Magazine, December 3, 1914

I think this cartoon deserves a bit of an explainer. The saying "coals to Newcastle" means doing something foolish or embarking on an enterprise that's believed to be doomed to failure. The saying took a turn in the 1900's (possibly near the time of this cartoon's printing) when Timothy Dexter was convinced by fellow entrepreneurs who were secretly plotting to ruin him, that he should sail a shipment of coal to Newcastle, England, the historic center of British coal production. Dexter scored a victory when his shipment just happened to land in the middle of a British miner's strike.

So, it's possible to read our beautiful young subject hardly needs mistletoe, and at the same time she's guaranteed it'll work on whatever suitor she's got in mind!

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