Wednesday 17 August 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday 17/8/11

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a fabulous weekly meme hosted by Bermuda Onion, where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our weekly reading.  

I've recently finished reading Mr Popper's Penguins. As with any classic you always learn a few things. 

1. Calcimine (noun)

He was spattered here and there with paint and calcimine, and there were bits of wallpaper clinging to his hair and whiskers, for he was rather an untidy man.

A white or tinted liquid containing zinc oxide, water, glue, and coloring matter, used as a wash for walls and ceilings. The free dictionary.

Picture credit

2. Rotogravure (noun)

Then the Associated Press picked up the story, and a week later the photograph, in rotogravure, could be seen in the Sunday edition of the most important newspapers in all the large cities in the country. 

An intaglio printing process in which letters and pictures are transferred from an etched copper cylinder to a web of paper, plastic, or similar material in a rotary press. The Free Dictionary

Rotogravure is then a printing process, widely used in the early part of the 20th century, when printing photos was difficult and the Sunday newspapers printed all the photographs in one section

3. Pullmans (noun)

It had been decided that Mr Popper should ride in the baggage car with the penguins to keep them from getting nervous, while Mrs Popper and the children should ride in one of the Pullmans. 

The Poppers here are traveling by train and it is clear that the meaning here is a railway carriage, and I presumed it was a manufacturer, but wanted to check it out as it wasn't a term familiar to me. Of course it's all there on wiki, George Pullman started making railway carriages with sleeping berths after spending the night sleeping in his seat going from Buffalo to Westfield, New York. Ha. I sat up from Baltimore to LA in the 80s because I couldn't afford to buy a sleeper. Buffalo to Westfield seems more a commute now.


Satia said...

Great list.

I first stumbled upon rotogravure in the song Easter Parade by Irving Berlin.

Annie said...

I didn't these the two first words. in "French" we say "un Pullmann" to name a very comfortable carriage.

Margot said...

I'm feeling smug today. I knew all but calcimine. It's been a long time since i read Mr. Popper's Penguins. I hope you are enjoying it. I should read it again.

Anonymous said...

These were one's I didn't know, except for pullman.

bermudaonion said...

I did know Pullmans, but the other two were new to me. I remember loving that book as a kid - I guess I just ignored the words I didn't know.