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Whose birthday am I celebrating?

February 10, 2015

(c) National Maritime Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

February 10 marks the 189th birthday of Samuel Plimsoll an English politician and social reformer.  He is best noted for the eponimous Plimsoll Line on merchant vessels – a line that indicate the maximum safe draft (and minimum freeboard) under various operating conditions.

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Also a name for what I call sneakers:

[The name Plimsoll for rubber-soled canvas shoes] derived, according to Nicholette Jones’ book The Plimsoll Sensation, because the coloured horizontal band joining the upper to the sole resembled the Plimsoll line on a ship’s hull, or because, just like the Plimsoll line on a ship, if water got above the line of the rubber sole, the wearer would get wet.

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2 comments

  1. I’d never known there was more to that line around the edges of sneakers than just being a decorative element. Cool! [Although when I was wearing them, those were very much the NOT COOL thing to be wearing…]


    • I knew a girl in college who called them “tennie pumps.” (tee hee)



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