Thursday, 23 July 2015

Here’s to You, Guglielmo!

Greeks in particular — the Greek word for a ship’s wireless officer is ‘Marconistis’ — will know that Guglielmo Marconi was the inventor of wireless telegraphy. Well, of course, it wasn’t quite as cut and dried as that; we shouldn’t forget — though most people do — Hertz, Fleming, Tesla, and many others who deserve more credit than they’ve had. The rapid development of wireless telegraphy, leading to the installation  of Marconi apparatus in many ships, was as much a business as a technological affair; it needed lots of money. So where did Marconi get his?

Whisky is made in Scotland. Nowhere else: you should reject anything claiming to be called whisky, but made outside Scotland. Recently I tried some made in Bavaria, and I have to say it tasted remarkably like the real thing, but I have also to say that my critical faculties were somewhat in abeyance at the time.

In Ireland they make whiskey, with an ‘e’. This too is a very fine drink; my own favourite is called ‘Paddy’ and is made in the city of Cork, but the best-known make outside Ireland itself is Jameson. It is said that an Irishman will step over six naked women to reach a whiskey bottle, so naturally the Jameson family is well off. And the maiden name of Marconi’s wife was Jameson; the family was generous in its support of Marconi’s work. Thus, in drinking Jameson, one is, or was, helping sailors the world over.


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