"adornment of the hardware"--solution

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Dec 20 17:11:57 UTC 2000

At 10:06 PM 12/19/00 -0600, you wrote:
>   First, many thanx for the several replies to my query about
>"adornment of the hardware." I just noticed another example of
>"hardware" in a 1913 baseball article:
>_San Francisco Bulletin_, April 15, 1913, p.14, cols. 1-3;(title)
>"Seals Will Have Week To Make Good." (subtitle): "Manager Howard
>Changes His Mind About Tying Hardware to Some of His Hopes." ["hopes"
>= players].
>    "Tying hardware"--this can only refer to a can.  The manager was
>considering canning (firing) some of his players.

I think this is about right.

"Tie a can on/to someone['s tail]/something" = "Get rid of
someone/something". I found only a few examples in a quick Web search, e.g.:



 From B. M. Bower, "Cabin Fever" (1944, I think):

"... Thought I could talk business to you, maybe--but I guess I better tie
a can to that idea."

"Might have told me there was a father-in-law in the outfit," he grumbled
to himself. "Big a butt-in as Marie's mother, at that. ... Regular old
he-hen, and I sure don't blame Foster for wanting to tie a can to the bunch."

I think the expression might originate in the tying of a can to a cat's
tail -- the cat runs away, the can rattles, the cat runs faster, etc., lots
of fun.

"Can s.o." = "Fire s.o.": the only speculation I can find in my books is
that it's from something like "Throw s.o. out on his can [i.e., arse]." But
maybe it's from "Tie a can to ..." or maybe from "can" = "discard", from
"can" = "trashcan" or the like. Possibly "can" = "fire" arose independently
from "tie a can ...".

-- Doug Wilson

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