All wool and a yard wide

Michael Quinion TheEditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Tue Jan 6 10:10:05 UTC 2004

A subscriber has suggested that the phrase "all wool and a yard
wide", known from the 1880s and which is suspected to be an early
advertising slogan, actually derives from a slogan of the J O Ballard
woollen mill at Malone, New York. There certainly was a woollen
factory in the town in 1855, but I lack the resources necessary to
determine whether the story is a folk etymology, or whether the
mill's publicists borrowed an already existing expression. Can anyone

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
E-mail: <TheEditor at>
Web: <>

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