Q: "penny-fort" (not in OED): Something new, or just a "pinafore"?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Aug 18 16:39:25 UTC 2013

Allegedly from Thomas's "The Farmer's Almanack", in the "Farmer's
Calendar" for June, 1821.  Found in Kittredge's "The Old Farmer and
His Almanac", Corner House Publishers, 1974, page 179.

We [farmhands], must be up in the morning, aye in the morning I say;
and not lie in bed until nigh twelve, like Capt. Dashup's girls, who
are thrumming and drumming and humming all night long with their
_penny-forts_ [italicized] and jews-harps."

"Penny-fort" is not in the OED.  Is this merely New England farmers'
dialect for "pinafore"?  Was there something slightly disgraceful
about being up all night in a pinafore??

P.S.  I doubt the f is an incorrectly transcribed long s.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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