Home / History / Which element, previously used in the production of felt, lead to the expression “mad as a hatter”?
Which element, previously used in the production of felt, lead to the expression “mad as a hatter”?
"Mad as a hatter" is a colloquial English phrase used in conversation to suggest (lightheartedly) that a person is suffering from insanity. It is believed to emanate from Denton, Tameside in the North of England where men in the area predominantly worked in the hattery business which used mercury in the hat making process. Mercury poisoning causes symptoms similar to madness and death often occurred with the accumulation of mercury in the body. The earliest known appearance of the phrase in print is in an 1829 issue of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine.
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