Hand signs (continued)

Mark A. Mandel Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Mon Dec 4 16:39:07 UTC 2000

Barry (Bapopik at AOL.COM) writes:


   I read in one publication that the Ballantine Brewery published an
in-house publication titled THREE RINGS, and that it was being catalogued
by the Library of Congress.  (Ballantine considered it an honor.)  I
checked WorldCat and THREE RINGS doesn't come up!  This publication might
have some info behind the hand gesture.

Barry may have mentioned this in a previous posting, but anyway: I remember
a Ballantine jingle that ran, or ended:
     Just you make the three-ring sign
     And ask the man for Ballantine!
And I think, but am not sure, that there were visuals (print? TV?)
associating the "OK" sign with this.

The connection (again, I may be redounding here) is that the "OK" sign uses
the handshape of
     thumb and forefinger form a circle ("ring"), other three fingers are
extended and spread above it ("three")
     Ballantine's trademark is/was three circles, all overlapping ("three

BTW, the Ballantine rings are locked but not linked, if I have the
terminology correct. Follow each of them through the connection and you
will see that the crossings alternate over and under, with the result that
no two of the rings are linked together: take one away and the other two
will fall freely apart. This construction is called the Borromean rings,
from an Italian family that had it as (part of?) their symbol. -- Thank
you, Martin Gardner, read long ago!

-- Mark A. Mandel

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