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Published August 31, 2008

“It’s a common mistake,” Dr. Norman said as he fingered the fur cloth in his hands. Plush carpet was not created until after the Black Plague of 1340. Even then, the material was expensive to make and so it would not gain popular acceptance until about 1617 when Sir Winston Wigsworth created a process for making it cheaply. The cheap process contributed to the softness and fuzziness of the material.  It was adopted by women to keep their privates warm and…uh… private. Men used them as a safe alternative to sheep. Wigworth made much of his fortune from prostitutes which may explain why your great uncle Silas made up such a far-fetched story.

 

“After awhile, the fad passed and Sir Winston Wigsworth struggled for a short time to figure out how he would make money off this small fabric.  In 1634, he invented a process for chaining these ‘tiles’ of fabric together, much like a quilt.  In 1635, he displayed this process at a convention of merchants and manufacturers where he gave out samples of this material.  It was billed in the press as the London Merkin Tile Exchange and it was a complete success and secured the family fortune until his great grandson Reginald squandered the whole thing in the slave trading business.  The initials ‘WW’ for Winston Wigsworth prove its authenticity.”

 

“Astounding,” said Amy. “That is a better story than what I had originally.”  She kissed Norman and myself on the cheek and left the room with her prized trophy.

 

Later that week, Amy appeared on the antiques and artifacts show and happily amazed everyone with her story.  Another catastrophe averted due to the intervention of my good friend and smoking companion, Doctor Norman G. Norman.

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