"All wool and a yard wide"

sagehen sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM
Tue Jan 6 18:09:20 UTC 2004

Michael Quinion writes:
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


This slogan was certainly Ballard Mill's but I'm not sure when it was
adopted.  It used to appear in the L.L.Bean catalogs that sold clothing
made from Ballard cloth.  [The mill was still operating within living
memory, but had closed before we moved into the area nearly thirty years
ago. The buildings now house classrooms for the local community college. ]
I'll pass your query on to our librarian in Malone.
A. Murie

A&M Murie
N. Bangor NY
sagehen at westelcom.com

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