Dear Doc Cragglehold!
Why is it called a turtle neck?
The name of the turtleneck sweater has it’s origins in the otherwise dull annals of the Swedish patent office.
You see, in 1871 the eccentrically brilliant tailor and turtle-lover Gerhard Thern took out a patent for this unique style of overwear. And, as we all know, when somebody holds a patent to something they are endowed with the sole privilege of governing all aspects of it’s production.
As I’ve mentioned, Thern was a bit eccentric. He’d taken to walking his turtles at night during the winter and so had developed the turtleneck to keep them from freezing. As walking a turtle can take an extremely long time his activities and, consequently, the sweater were seen by a critical mass of the Swedish population.
It wasn’t long before they began approaching Thern on his walks and asking him for a sweater of their own. Thern’s response was always negative, however. In his words the sweater was ‘for only turtles’.
The ironic twist in his tale stems directly from Thern’s stubbornness. You see, without developing the turtleneck for general human use Thern was unable to keep himself properly clad for these extremely long turtle walks. It wasn’t long before he came down with pneumonia and died.
His body lay in the snow for some six hours before it was discovered. The coroner was able to determine this figure as the turtles Thern was walking were almost ten feet away by the time he was turned up.
Celebrations erupted all over Sweden as Thern’s son expanded the patent to include a sweater large enough for a human being to wear. The festivities continued through the next night as the Swedes were now able to keep warm enough to stay outside for lengthy periods.
As you’re from Sweden I’m surprised you didn’t learn all this in school!
Dr. Cragglehold, Ph.D.