I’m reading a fascinating book just now, At Home: a short history of private lives, by that excellent writer, Bill Bryson.
To quote from the Amazon précis:
“With his signature wit, charm, and seemingly limitless knowledge, Bill Bryson takes us on a room-by-room tour through his own house, using each room as a jumping off point into the vast history of the domestic artifacts we take for granted. As he takes us through the history of our modern comforts, Bryson demonstrates that whatever happens in the world eventually ends up in our home, in the paint, the pipes, the pillows, and every item of furniture. Bryson has one of the liveliest, most inquisitive minds on the planet, and his sheer prose fluency makes At Home one of the most entertaining books ever written about private life.”
I’m finding I have to frequently put the book down, and go to the computer, to read more on the topics he has discussed. So, among other things, I’ve found out about various forms of notches used to construct log cabins, and discovered how and why the Erie canal was built and how that impacted on the wealth and growth of New York City. I’ve also been riveted by the saga of Fonthill Abbey (also known as Beckford’s Folly). Do yourself a favour and read about this online! For anyone interested in this piece of history, here is one link http://www.hvtesla.com/fonthill/
Anyhow, what does this all have to do with diapers and the Palazzo Ducale in Venice? Have a look at the facade of the palace. Note how the brickwork forms a diamond shape which is known as a “diaper”. Why a diaper you ask? Because, as Mr Bryson explains, those “baby undergarments were originally made from linen threads woven in a diamond pattern”. I wonder who first decided to call this brickwork pattern diaper, rather than diamond? If that hadn’t happened, I would have had to find a different topic for this post! Thank you, Anon.