Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-29-2019, 04:06 PM
markn+ markn+ is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: unknown; Speed: exactly 0
Posts: 2,008
"Dollars" in Victorian England?

I was re-reading Arthur Conan Doyle's The Man with the Twisted Lip, one of his Sherlock Holmes stories. I was struck by this line, in which an English gentleman describes how he discovered that he could make more money begging than in his previous job as a newspaper reporter:

Quote:
It was a long fight between my pride and the money, but the dollars won at last ...
Why would Conan Doyle, writing dialog for a native English character in a story set in London, use the word "dollars"? Did this have some meaning in Victorian England other than currency used in a foreign country?

Last edited by markn+; 01-29-2019 at 04:07 PM.
  #2  
Old 01-29-2019, 04:29 PM
Banksiaman Banksiaman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 864
Idiom.

I couldn't find any real usage of Doyle's term in an big Australian newspaper database search for this period, but the term 'Almighty dollar' had reasonable currency [pause for laughter].

'Dollar' worked for Doyle's literate audience, and there was the added tone I think for a British audience that this was slightly more crass and mercenary money than working for proper sterling. He was very good at articulating slight nuances of detail reflecting class and status which, of course Sherlock Holmes made his bread and butter.
  #3  
Old 01-29-2019, 04:33 PM
mbh mbh is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 4,361
Was your copy published in UK or US? When publishing a book from across the pond, editors will often "translate" things to make it easier for the local audience.

The Harry Potter books were notorious for this, and you can find websites going into great detail about the changes.

Arthur C. Clarke specifically added a clause in his contracts to compel American publishers to use British spelling and punctuation.

Last edited by mbh; 01-29-2019 at 04:34 PM.
  #4  
Old 01-29-2019, 04:40 PM
DPRK DPRK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 2,662
If he's referring to loose change, a crown coin could be a dollar.

ETA anyway, it's not like dollar-notes, dollared men, etc. were obscure references

Last edited by DPRK; 01-29-2019 at 04:43 PM.
  #5  
Old 01-29-2019, 04:42 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 27,215
The Wikipedia article on "dollar" points out that the word is used in Shakespeare's plays and that a nineteenth-century five shilling piece was called a dollar sometimes. So the word is familiar to Brits.
  #6  
Old 01-29-2019, 04:57 PM
Miller's Avatar
Miller Miller is online now
Sith Mod
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Bear Flag Republic
Posts: 43,499
How about dollars in Elizabethan England?

That now Sweno, the Norways' king, craves composition. Nor would we deign him burial of his men Till he disbursed at Saint Colme’s Inch Ten thousand dollars to our general use. -MacBeth

Here, Shakespeare is clearly indicating the they're getting paid by a foreign king, and those are literal (if an anachronism for the period in which the play is set) dollars. In the Doyle quote, he's employing a common idiomatic trick of replacing the local currency with a foreign one, the way an American might substitute pesos or sheckles for dollars when talking casually about money.
  #7  
Old 01-29-2019, 05:02 PM
Baron Greenback's Avatar
Baron Greenback Baron Greenback is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Scotland
Posts: 11,385
It's still - occasionally - used as slang for cash in the UK.
  #8  
Old 01-29-2019, 06:20 PM
markn+ markn+ is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: unknown; Speed: exactly 0
Posts: 2,008
Well, you ought to know, with that user name.

Speaking of which, "greenback" is also a word that, at least originally, referred to US currency. Is "greenback" also current in the UK to refer to money in general, not US currency?
  #9  
Old 01-29-2019, 06:48 PM
Baron Greenback's Avatar
Baron Greenback Baron Greenback is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Scotland
Posts: 11,385
Quote:
Originally Posted by markn+ View Post
Well, you ought to know, with that user name.

Speaking of which, "greenback" is also a word that, at least originally, referred to US currency. Is "greenback" also current in the UK to refer to money in general, not US currency?
I don't think so, although the term is fairly well-known for US dollar notes.

Note that my username is that of a megalomaniac cartoon toad, rather than anything directly currency-specific.
  #10  
Old 01-29-2019, 06:58 PM
Folacin Folacin is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: North of the River
Posts: 3,333
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baron Greenback View Post
Note that my username is that of a megalomaniac cartoon toad, rather than anything directly currency-specific.
Penfold and I suspected as much. I'm surprised the good Baron isn't your avatar.
  #11  
Old 01-29-2019, 07:54 PM
Asuka Asuka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,007
The James Bond films in the 60's and 70's sometimes did this, which makes me curious if the scripts were written with American audiences in mind or if there's still some imperial standard stuff that was still left over, like referring to stuff measured in inches and using Fahrenheit temperatures instead of Celsius.
  #12  
Old 01-29-2019, 08:39 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 30,851
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbh View Post
Was your copy published in UK or US? When publishing a book from across the pond, editors will often "translate" things to make it easier for the local audience.
Right. The Holmes books were notoriously edited for American audiences to use more familiar terms.
  #13  
Old 01-29-2019, 08:49 PM
Aspidistra Aspidistra is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5,109
Don't you guys also use "penny" as a slang term, even though there are no official pennies in American currency?
__________________
It is easier to fall than to climb ... letting go for the fall brings a wonderful feeling of ease and power
- Katherine Kerr Daggerspell
  #14  
Old 01-29-2019, 08:57 PM
terentii's Avatar
terentii terentii is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Moscow/Toronto
Posts: 16,804
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
Don't you guys also use "penny" as a slang term, even though there are no official pennies in American currency?
As in "That must have cost a pretty penny!"

Yes, but that expression goes way back, and pennies were discontinued in the US fairly recently.
__________________
I have nothing to do with the creaking machinery of humanity.
  #15  
Old 01-29-2019, 09:03 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 27,215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbh View Post
Was your copy published in UK or US? When publishing a book from across the pond, editors will often "translate" things to make it easier for the local audience.
Right. The Holmes books were notoriously edited for American audiences to use more familiar terms.
I've been Googling for the text of the story, and as far as I can tell, the word dollars was in the original. (Ideally, I'd like to see the text as it appeared in The Strand Magazine but haven't been able to find that yet.)
  #16  
Old 01-29-2019, 09:09 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Greenbelt, Maryland
Posts: 14,119
terentii writes:

> . . . pennies were discontinued in the US . . .

No, they weren't.
  #17  
Old 01-29-2019, 09:33 PM
Shakester's Avatar
Shakester Shakester is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 3,018
Quote:
Originally Posted by markn+ View Post
Well, you ought to know, with that user name.

Speaking of which, "greenback" is also a word that, at least originally, referred to US currency. Is "greenback" also current in the UK to refer to money in general, not US currency?
Greenback is specific to the US, as the US is the only place (so far as I know) where the banknotes are all greenish.

Most places have different colours for different denominations, and have had for so long that the colours are now "traditional" for those denominations.
  #18  
Old 01-29-2019, 10:05 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 30,851
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakester View Post
Greenback is specific to the US, as the US is the only place (so far as I know) where the banknotes are all greenish.

Most places have different colours for different denominations, and have had for so long that the colours are now "traditional" for those denominations.
Greenback dates back to the paper currency issued during the Civil War, when just the reverse side was green. Later paper money was green on both sides, but the slang expression had taken hold.
  #19  
Old 01-29-2019, 10:19 PM
Aspidistra Aspidistra is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5,109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
terentii writes:

> . . . pennies were discontinued in the US . . .

No, they weren't.
AIUI "penny" is just a slang term for "one cent" - right? Like "nickel" is for "five cents"
__________________
It is easier to fall than to climb ... letting go for the fall brings a wonderful feeling of ease and power
- Katherine Kerr Daggerspell
  #20  
Old 01-29-2019, 10:24 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 27,215
Yes, and neither the penny (one-cent coin) or the nickel (five-cent coin) have been discontinued in the US, even though they actually cost more than face value to produce and are essentially worthless.
  #21  
Old 01-30-2019, 01:37 AM
eschereal's Avatar
eschereal eschereal is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Frogstar World B
Posts: 15,603
This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.
This is from the 20th printing of the original British paperback edition (the one with the weird stripey cover). On the one hand, British currency is not predominantly green; on the other hand, he is talking about an entire planet whose economy is dominated by a nation that uses currency that is mostly green.
  #22  
Old 01-30-2019, 03:23 AM
terentii's Avatar
terentii terentii is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Moscow/Toronto
Posts: 16,804
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
terentii writes:

> . . . pennies were discontinued in the US . . .

No, they weren't.
Really? I'm surprised. Canada discontinued the penny several years ago, and Russia dropped the kopek around the same time. I assumed this was now a thing, and thought the US (along with other countries) had followed suit.

Has the American government given any rationale as to why they're hanging on to the penny? I haven't been to the US since January 2000, but I still have a bunch of pennies I never spent.
__________________
I have nothing to do with the creaking machinery of humanity.
  #23  
Old 01-30-2019, 04:12 AM
Nava Nava is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 40,359
The word "dollar" originated as an alternative spelling for the different silver coins called "thaler". ACD is simply using it to refer to money in general.
__________________
Evidence gathered through the use of science is easily dismissed through the use of idiocy. - Czarcasm.
  #24  
Old 01-30-2019, 04:14 AM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick Broomstick is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 27,558
Quote:
Originally Posted by terentii View Post
Really? I'm surprised. Canada discontinued the penny several years ago, and Russia dropped the kopek around the same time. I assumed this was now a thing, and thought the US (along with other countries) had followed suit.
You mean... like how the US has got board an adopted the metric system like everyone else? Oh, wait....

Americans are stubborn....

Quote:
Has the American government given any rationale as to why they're hanging on to the penny?
Inertia and public outcry every time they try to make a change in the currency. A certain segment of the population will scream they're being "cheated" if prices start being rounded off

Quote:
I haven't been to the US since January 2000, but I still have a bunch of pennies I never spent.
Good news - they're still legal currency. Unlike the small bowl of Canadian pennies we have where I work, along with a few paper Canadian dollars.
  #25  
Old 01-30-2019, 08:50 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Hampshire, England
Posts: 13,519
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asuka View Post
The James Bond films in the 60's and 70's sometimes did this, which makes me curious if the scripts were written with American audiences in mind or if there's still some imperial standard stuff that was still left over, like referring to stuff measured in inches and using Fahrenheit temperatures instead of Celsius.
Britain still uses inches, and did so almost exclusively in the 1960s and 1970s. Fahrenheit would also have been the default in that era - it's only in the 1980s or even 1990s that Celsius took over in daily discourse, and even nowadays many people still use Fahrenheit, at least when talking about warm summer temperatures (if there's a heatwave on the way, the newspapers will always trumpet the fact that it could reach 85F or 90F).

Regarding "dollars", in Victorian times that word used to be slang for a crown (five shillings, or a quarter of a pound sterling), reflecting the fact that the exchange rate used to be four dollars to the pound. (It's now about $1.30 ). In Cockney rhyming slang, a crown was referred to as an "Oxford" (Oxford scholar = dollar).

Last edited by Colophon; 01-30-2019 at 08:51 AM.
  #26  
Old 01-30-2019, 08:57 AM
Folacin Folacin is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: North of the River
Posts: 3,333
[QUOTE=Colophon;21460204(if there's a heatwave on the way, the newspapers will always trumpet the fact that it could reach 85F or 90F).[/QUOTE]

Odd definition of heat-wave - the American midwest considers that a nice summer day, and we might need to put on a jacket. And yes, I know 'normal' temperature varies - probably people in Seattle would agree with you.
  #27  
Old 01-30-2019, 09:03 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Hampshire, England
Posts: 13,519
Quote:
Originally Posted by Folacin View Post
Odd definition of heat-wave - the American midwest considers that a nice summer day, and we might need to put on a jacket. And yes, I know 'normal' temperature varies - probably people in Seattle would agree with you.
Bear in mind that even London, in the south of England, is further north than three-quarters of the population of Canada. Actually probably more like 90% of the population.

Last edited by Colophon; 01-30-2019 at 09:05 AM.
  #28  
Old 01-30-2019, 09:16 AM
DesertDog DesertDog is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Mesa, Ariz.
Posts: 5,032
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
Britain still uses inches, and did so almost exclusively in the 1960s and 1970s. Fahrenheit would also have been the default in that era - it's only in the 1980s or even 1990s that Celsius took over in daily discourse, and even nowadays many people still use Fahrenheit, at least when talking about warm summer temperatures (if there's a heatwave on the way, the newspapers will always trumpet the fact that it could reach 85F or 90F).
Speaking of Harry Potter, I remember in the beginning of the Order of the Phoenix movie a radio announcer giving the expected temperature in Fahrenheit during a heat wave. I was wondering if the movie had been Americanized but maybe it was reflecting reality.
  #29  
Old 01-30-2019, 11:49 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 30,851
I have a copy of The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes which has all the Strand stories and art in their original form.

Yes, dollars is used there. But not American dollars.

Baring-Gould's Annotated Sherlock Holmes has an explanation.

Quote:
The late A. Carson Simpson pointed out (Numismatics in the Canon, Part 1) that "dollar" is English slang for the crown, or 5-shilling piece. We must read "crowns" when a Canonical character whose background is purely British speaks of "dollars" (as James Browner does in "The Cardboard Box.": "All was as bright as a new dollar.").
It's still true that American editors changed Holmes frequently but that's an odd bit of legitimate English slang.
  #30  
Old 01-30-2019, 11:53 AM
kenobi 65's Avatar
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is online now
Corellian Nerfherder
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brookfield, IL
Posts: 13,628
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baron Greenback View Post
Note that my username is that of a megalomaniac cartoon toad, rather than anything directly currency-specific.
And, specifically, a megalomaniac cartoon toad in an English cartoon!
  #31  
Old 01-30-2019, 11:54 AM
Pleonast's Avatar
Pleonast Pleonast is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Los 'Kamala'ngeles
Posts: 6,980
For reference, the names of American coins, as stamped on them, are "One Cent", "Five Cents", "One Dime", "Quarter Dollar", "Half Dollar", and "One Dollar" (sometimes "$1").
  #32  
Old 01-30-2019, 12:29 PM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: London
Posts: 3,053
In the days of the Gold Standard, a US dollar was consistently worth about 5 shillings. Although the crown (5s) coin went out of regular circulation long ago, the half-crown stayed in use and was the highest value coin in circulation until decimalisation in 1971. My father and his generation still referred to "half a dollar", even then.
  #33  
Old 01-30-2019, 03:35 PM
Mk VII Mk VII is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: England
Posts: 2,854
My John Murray Jonathan Cape edition of the short stories uses 'dollars'. The American Doubleday edition (since reprinted under other imprints) normally follows the 'Strand' magazine text.
  #34  
Old 01-30-2019, 04:48 PM
bump bump is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 16,779
Quote:
Originally Posted by Folacin View Post
Odd definition of heat-wave - the American midwest considers that a nice summer day, and we might need to put on a jacket. And yes, I know 'normal' temperature varies - probably people in Seattle would agree with you.
<snort>

85-90? That's more of a May temperature around here.

Then again, our low/high spread today was 28/53, so I guess I can't complain.

Last edited by bump; 01-30-2019 at 04:48 PM.
  #35  
Old 01-30-2019, 05:03 PM
Filbert Filbert is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 5,145
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertDog View Post
Speaking of Harry Potter, I remember in the beginning of the Order of the Phoenix movie a radio announcer giving the expected temperature in Fahrenheit during a heat wave. I was wondering if the movie had been Americanized but maybe it was reflecting reality.
Just checked my UK copy- it gives the temperature in Celsius, then Fahrenheit.

That would not be all that odd here; Celsius is definitely the default for weather forecasts, 'temperatures around 15°' with no scale, would be Celsius, and you wouldn't ever get it just in Fahrenheit, but they may well say both. Especially for an unusually high temperature, more dramatic sounding numbers and all that.



In my mid 30s, I have only the vaguest idea of Fahrenheit, I only ever seem to see it on trashy tabloids, accompanied by something like 'HOTTER THAN CORFU!' often with comedically low temperatures, like this.

Cold weather is in Celsius, 'cos they can stick a - in front of it and sound scary.

We have a very strange relationship with metric/imperial measures here too; if you asked someone to measure a strange object, you'd almost certainly get a measurement in cm from anyone under the age of around 40. But... many things are still called by their size in inches, road signs are miles and yards, and if you asked even a teenager how tall they were, you'd have a good chance of getting a height in feet and inches. Fuel is sold by the litre, beer is sold by the pint in a pub, 500ml in the supermarket, milk can be anything. Almost nothing is sold by the lb.
  #36  
Old 01-30-2019, 05:22 PM
Thudlow Boink's Avatar
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Lincoln, IL
Posts: 26,201
Quote:
Originally Posted by Filbert View Post
Cold weather is in Celsius, 'cos they can stick a - in front of it and sound scary.
But is that a "minus" or a "negative"?

Last edited by Thudlow Boink; 01-30-2019 at 05:22 PM.
  #37  
Old 01-30-2019, 05:27 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 30,851
Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
<snort>

85-90? That's more of a May temperature around here.

Then again, our low/high spread today was 28/53, so I guess I can't complain.
I was in England the summer of 1995. The temperature hit 87 and the newspapers were screaming that it was the hottest day since Queen Victoria lost her virginity or something like that.

Remember, England doesn't have air conditioning. Or ice.
  #38  
Old 01-30-2019, 05:59 PM
Cayuga Cayuga is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 1,054
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pleonast View Post
For reference, the names of American coins, as stamped on them, are "One Cent", "Five Cents", "One Dime", "Quarter Dollar", "Half Dollar", and "One Dollar" (sometimes "$1").
I've been American just about my whole life, and my understanding has always been that "one cent" and "five cents" are the values of coins that are named "penny" and "nickel." They just don't have the name printed on them — in their current forms, anyway; I don't know about earlier designs.
  #39  
Old 01-30-2019, 07:29 PM
JohnGalt's Avatar
JohnGalt JohnGalt is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Med city USA
Posts: 2,109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pleonast View Post
For reference, the names of American coins, as stamped on them, are "One Cent", "Five Cents", "One Dime", "Quarter Dollar", "Half Dollar", and "One Dollar" (sometimes "$1").
I just went over this with my college-age students. The sample Java program we were working on (to give change) gave the results as "quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies") which led to the side discussion on what's actually on the coins. They thought the five cent coin said nickel, and the one cent coin said penny. I showed them a picture of an (old seated Britannia) UK penny- now that's a penny! They also didn't know that the dime said "one dime" and had no idea where the word dime came from, which we then explored. I remember from my college days that these off-topic discussions were often the most interesting part of the day, at least better than another Java program.

Back to the OP, there was a 1804 Bank of England Dollar, also engraved as five shillings (or a crown). To relieve a shortage of silver coins, it was overstruck on a Spanish colonial coin, which was also the monetary basis of the US dollar.
  #40  
Old 01-30-2019, 07:53 PM
Aspidistra Aspidistra is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5,109
There was also the Scottish "sword dollar" - 30 shilling coin officially named the Ryal, struck by James VI

piccies
__________________
It is easier to fall than to climb ... letting go for the fall brings a wonderful feeling of ease and power
- Katherine Kerr Daggerspell
  #41  
Old 01-31-2019, 08:15 AM
DesertDog DesertDog is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Mesa, Ariz.
Posts: 5,032
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pleonast View Post
For reference, the names of American coins, as stamped on them, are "One Cent", "Five Cents", "One Dime", "Quarter Dollar", "Half Dollar", and "One Dollar" (sometimes "$1").
The Liberty Head nickel had no denomination at all, just a Roman numeral V on the reverse. When they were new, some enterprising grifter gold plated some and passed them off as a new half-eagle.
  #42  
Old 01-31-2019, 03:37 PM
bump bump is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 16,779
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
I was in England the summer of 1995. The temperature hit 87 and the newspapers were screaming that it was the hottest day since Queen Victoria lost her virginity or something like that.

Remember, England doesn't have air conditioning. Or ice.
I was there in August 2003 actually... it got to 101.3 F in Kent, and IIRC in Oxford where I was, it got to about 97 or so.

It was fucking miserable. People were saying stuff like "Remind you of home?" because I'm from Texas. And I'd reply "No! We're not savages, we have air conditioning!"

I was actually talking about it being a nice summer day in the Midwest (which it isn't; it's a lot hotter than that in many places), and pointing out that it's more of a late spring temperature here.
  #43  
Old 01-31-2019, 06:21 PM
terentii's Avatar
terentii terentii is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Moscow/Toronto
Posts: 16,804
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
I was in England the summer of 1995. The temperature hit 87 and the newspapers were screaming that it was the hottest day since Queen Victoria lost her virginity or something like that.
I spent the summer of 1976 hitchhiking around England. That was the year of the worst drought in three centuries, and the temperature hovered around 90 F on most days.

I was in cutoffs and short sleeves most of the time, so it didn't really bother me. There was none of the near triple-digit humidity you get in large parts of the US during summer.

I spent April though May in Scotland, where it rained every rotten day. I'd look out the window and think "How can there be a drought in Britain?" Then I went south in June and *BAM* the grass turned brown the other side of Newcastle. I also got way too much sun on the Isle of Man and spent the next two weeks peeling badly.

Things changed drastically the second weekend in September, with a huge storm coming in out of the Atlantic. I was at Land's End, and damned near froze to death hitchhiking back to Brechin to retrieve my cold-weather gear.
__________________
I have nothing to do with the creaking machinery of humanity.

Last edited by terentii; 01-31-2019 at 06:24 PM.
  #44  
Old 01-31-2019, 08:57 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 30,851
Quote:
Originally Posted by terentii View Post
I spent the summer of 1976 hitchhiking around England. That was the year of the worst drought in three centuries, and the temperature hovered around 90 F on most days.

I was in cutoffs and short sleeves most of the time, so it didn't really bother me. There was none of the near triple-digit humidity you get in large parts of the US during summer.

I spent April though May in Scotland, where it rained every rotten day. I'd look out the window and think "How can there be a drought in Britain?" Then I went south in June and *BAM* the grass turned brown the other side of Newcastle. I also got way too much sun on the Isle of Man and spent the next two weeks peeling badly.

Things changed drastically the second weekend in September, with a huge storm coming in out of the Atlantic. I was at Land's End, and damned near froze to death hitchhiking back to Brechin to retrieve my cold-weather gear.
I also went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that trip. One of the performances was in an attic. I almost passed out from the heat. Definitely not a drop of rain anywhere that I ever saw.
  #45  
Old 02-01-2019, 04:36 PM
bwolf65 bwolf65 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cayuga View Post
I've been American just about my whole life, and my understanding has always been that "one cent" and "five cents" are the values of coins that are named "penny" and "nickel." They just don't have the name printed on them — in their current forms, anyway; I don't know about earlier designs.
I'm looking at a "dime" minted in 2014 right now. On the reverse (i.e., "tails") side, it reads: "One Dime" It does not actually state the value of the coin anywhere on either side. I remember helping some befuddled Brits try to feed a parking meter once.

Last edited by bwolf65; 02-01-2019 at 04:37 PM.
  #46  
Old 02-01-2019, 05:35 PM
glowacks glowacks is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,041
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwolf65 View Post
I'm looking at a "dime" minted in 2014 right now. On the reverse (i.e., "tails") side, it reads: "One Dime" It does not actually state the value of the coin anywhere on either side. I remember helping some befuddled Brits try to feed a parking meter once.
A dime is a unit a money equal to one tenth of a dollar, just like the cent is one hundredth and a mil is one thousandth.
  #47  
Old 02-01-2019, 05:56 PM
markn+ markn+ is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: unknown; Speed: exactly 0
Posts: 2,008
Yes but it's interesting (and probably annoying to foreigners) that our four commonly used coins use three different monetary units to express their value. A penny is inscribed "One Cent", a nickel says "Five Cents", a dime says "One Dime" and a quarter says "Quarter Dollar". Why couldn't the last two say "Ten Cents" and "25 Cents"?
  #48  
Old 02-01-2019, 05:57 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 30,851
Quote:
Originally Posted by glowacks View Post
A dime is a unit a money equal to one tenth of a dollar, just like the cent is one hundredth and a mil is one thousandth.
The original nickel was called a half-disme, or half a dime. (Disme is from the French and the "s" is silent as is isle.)
  #49  
Old 02-01-2019, 06:38 PM
eschereal's Avatar
eschereal eschereal is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Frogstar World B
Posts: 15,603
Was there a time when the British penny was nearly the same value as the American cent? Like, if the exchange rate was $2.40 -> £1 (before decimalization, of course).
  #50  
Old 02-01-2019, 07:16 PM
Aspidistra Aspidistra is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5,109
Quote:
Originally Posted by markn+ View Post
Yes but it's interesting (and probably annoying to foreigners) that our four commonly used coins use three different monetary units to express their value. A penny is inscribed "One Cent", a nickel says "Five Cents", a dime says "One Dime" and a quarter says "Quarter Dollar". Why couldn't the last two say "Ten Cents" and "25 Cents"?
The whole design of the US currency is an interesting combination of what I'd call metric thinking vs imperial (as in measurement) thinking.

In Imperial systems, you have large units being any-old multiple of the small units (twelve, twenty, three ... or whatever) so you're very reluctant to drop down to the next smallest unit. It's much easier if you're, say, measuring distances, to talk about half miles and quarter miles than try to remember how many yards that is - recipes have quarter cups and third cups rather than translate to tablespoons. People who are fully metricated do this a lot less - nobody talks about half centimeters or quarter litres, it's 5 mils or two fifty mils (yeah, same colloquial term for both)

So the US monetary system is an interesting hybrid. It's based on a lovely regular decimal system, just like the French had been pioneering. But they were clearly still thinking in an Imperial kind of way - a quarter is a quarter because it's fundamental identity is 'a quarter of the next biggest unit' - it only accidentally happens to be equal to 25 cents. If the designers had been thinking of it as 'a number of cents added together' they probably would have made it 20, not 25
__________________
It is easier to fall than to climb ... letting go for the fall brings a wonderful feeling of ease and power
- Katherine Kerr Daggerspell
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:24 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017