One of the world’s most prolific inventors, Walter Hunt is credited with an ice plough, bottle-stoppers, road-sweeping machines, a fountain pen, a sewing machine, a repeating rifle, circus equipment and more. On this day in 1849, Hunt picked up a piece of brass wire in his New York City workshop and invented the “Dress-Pin”, the little piece of magic we know today as the safety pin.
We are toasting Hunt and his thumb-friendly creation with an aptly named Champino, a delectable champagne Negroni. It may have a pin in the name, but it has absolutely no sting in the tail.
Today is, of course also 10/10. Or, in Taiwan, it's Double Ten Day. The day when the Republic of China commemorates getting rid of the Last Emperor and setting up the Republic of China in 1908. And, yes, we are still talking about Taiwan. Because Taiwan's legal name is the Republic of China. What most of us think of as China is technically the People's Republic of China and celebrated its own national day a few days back. That commemorates when it was established in 1949, after the last leadership basically retreated to Taiwan.
Taiwanese celebrate today with lion dancers, drum teams, fireworks and kaoliang, the sorghum spirit that comes close to the status of a national drink. We are marking today more conservatively, with one of our favourite drinks, a Tenner Martini.
This day, in 1971, the town of Lake Havasu City in Arizona debuted a new bridge - London Bridge. Local entrepreneur, and city founder, Robert P. McCulloch had bought the bridge wholesale from London, where it had stood since 1831, for a price of almost two and a half million dollars. He then shipped the individually numbered stones all the way out to Arizona to rebuild the bridge over a local canal, a project which took four years to complete.
Crazy? Possibly. Yet London Bridge is second only to the Grand Canyon as a tourist attraction in Arizona. And the publicity brought both tourists and residents to the city McCulloch founded. A popular London urban myth is that McCulloch bought the bridge in the belief he was actually buying London's iconic Tower Bridge, but this has been denied by McCulloch himself and by Ivan Luckin, who sold him the bridge.
We are toasting London, and its bridges, past and present, with a London Gypsy, an aptly named drink that's a whole lot more than water under the bridge.