Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Boston Tea Party - December 16, 1773

In her Tea With Friends blog this morning, Angela McRae remembered the 237th anniversary (*) of The Boston Tea Party with pictures of her floaty pen commemorating the event. Her pen shows crates of tea which 'float' back behind a sailing ship.
This reminded me of a Christmas in the early '50's at Grandpa and Grandma Ridnour's. With thirteen grandchildren (at that time) to buy presents for, the gifts were never very extravagant. This particular year we received floaty pens. (Also known as 'floaties' or 'tilt' pens.) I think ours were either Roy Rogers or Gene Autry. It was quite a novelty to watch Roy and Trigger move across the scene or Gene play his guitar.

What was more fun was watching our fathers open their gifts of floaty pens. The three sons-in-law had all received "girlie" pens. There was a lot of laughter and red faces. And for some reason, they wouldn't let the younger kids look at the grown-ups pens. Later I would sneak a peek at Dad's 'stripper' pen of a model in a bathing suit which floated away to reveal her nude.

As Grandma Delphia was always very vocal against anything immoral, it makes me wonder who ordered those pens. But since I'm pretty sure she was the one who ordered the ones for the kids, it makes me think she also ordered the 'stripper' ones. Maybe Grandma had a twisted sense of humour?

Floaties became popular after 1946 when Peder Eskesen, a Danish baker, was successful in sealing the mineral oil inside the pen barrel. Eskesen of Denmark is still in the floating action pen business. You can even design your own floaty. Or, if you are looking for vintage ones, there are many on e-bay, including at least one Boston Tea Party pen.

(* Also the 199th anniversary of the first of a series of earthquakes along the New Madrid Fault; the 38th of the death of my niece, Jennifer Lynam and the 7th of my mother, Ruth Lynam.) Requiescat in pace.

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