Mad Hat­ter Day is every Octo­ber 6th.  Why, you may ask.  In Alice in Won­der­land, the Mad Hatter’s hat (illus­trat­ed by John Ten­niel) has a slip on it that reads “In this style 10/6.”  This means the hat cost 10 shillings and six­pence.  In 1986, some seri­ous­ly bored com­put­er peo­ple in Boul­der, Col­orado cel­e­brat­ed a day of silli­ness.  The Mad Hat­ter char­ac­ter is known for being sil­ly, but did you know that he prob­a­bly just had mer­cury poi­son­ing?

from ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND, by Lewis Carroll, with illustrations by John Tenniel. Macmillan and Co, London, 1898.

Mad Hat­ter Disease/Syndrome is chron­ic mer­cury poi­son­ing among hat­mak­ers whose work involved pro­longed expo­sure to mer­cury vapors.  The neu­ro­tox­ic effects includ­ed tremor, patho­log­i­cal shy­ness, and irri­tabil­i­ty.

Right you are Alice!

Right you are Alice!

 Man­u­fac­tur­ing felt hats began in 17th cen­tu­ry France and spread to Eng­land by the end of the cen­tu­ry.  Mer­curic

Danbury hatmakers

Dan­bury hat­mak­ers

nitrate was used to treat the fur of small ani­mals for hats.  By the Vic­to­ri­an era, hat­ters’ con­di­tion had become prover­bial and pop­u­lar expres­sions arose like “mad as a hat­ter,” “hat­ters’ shakes,” and “Dan­bury shakes.”  In Amer­i­ca, this ter­ri­ble prac­tice con­tin­ued until 1941 when mer­cury poi­son­ing in the hat­mak­ing indus­tries of Dan­bury, Con­necti­cut was exposed.

 

Yes, this hol­i­day has dark roots.  But now it’s fun!  So those com­put­er peo­ple I spoke of, well they announced their day of silli­ness on com­put­er net­works and Mad Hat­ter Day became more pop­u­lar.  In 1988, it was first rec­og­nized as a “hol­i­day.”  

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Baby’s hats…contaminated with high lev­els of mercury…I’m sure that worked out well for those babies lat­er in life.

At Kards Unlim­it­ed, we have tons of sil­ly stuff so you can cel­e­brate being sil­ly (and that oh so sil­ly mer­cury poi­son­ing) in style.  We have Mad Hat­ter hats, jew­el­ry, even pass­ports to Won­der­land.  And for the purest, we have The Adven­tures of Alice in Won­der­land with orig­i­nal illus­tra­tions by John Ten­niel.  

We sell this!

We sell this!

I know this is post­ed a bit lat­er than 10/6, but hon­est­ly, you can be sil­ly any day of the year!!!

So, what do you think?