Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Posts Tagged ‘1717’

The Third Degree

Posted by Admin on August 26, 2010

Everyone knows that if you’re given the third degree, that you’re under “intense interrogation by police” or some other authority figure.

The police reference has been around since 1900, and is a reference to the Third Degree of master mason in Freemasonry dating back to changes made in 1721, four years after the first Grand Lodge of Freemasonry was founded in London, England.  The third degree ceremony involved an interrogation ceremony before the degree was conferred upon the Freemason. 

In American, the third degree defined the seriousness of a particular type of crime and is recorded as early as 1865.  In 1910, Richard H. Sylvester,  Chief of Police for Washington, DC divided police procedures into the arrest as the first degree, transportation to jail as the second degree, and interrogation as the third degree.    

And in 1931 the Wickersham Commission found that use of the third degree was widespread in the United States and was misused at times to extract confessions from suspects.

Posted in Idioms from the 18th Century, Idioms from the 20th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I’d Rather Drink From The Cup Of Mediocrity

Posted by Admin on June 2, 2010

The complete phrase is actually: “I’d rather die of thirst than drink from the cup of mediocrity.”  While this phrase has a certain old world wisdom feel to it, it is actually a very recent expression thanks to Stella Artois.

For those among you who are unfamiliar with Stella Artois, it’s important to note that Stella is a thing not a person.  The first recorded history of Stella Artois is in 1366, when records of taxes exist on Leuven’s Den Horen Brewery, a brewery that is still in existence today.

In 1708, Sebastian Artois became the master brewer at Den Horen, and gave his name to the brewery in 1717.   Stella Artois was launched as a seasonal beer for the Christmas holiday market in 1926, however, it proved to be such a success that the brand became available year round.

The advertising slogan was so successful that it won in its category at the The Global Advertising Awards and has since found its way into the English language.

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