[Ads-l] Saying: "I see, " said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer and saw.

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 2 15:59:47 EST 2019


Thanks for the responses. An excellent 1848 citation for the phrase
“Although he can't see, he can saw." discovered by Christopher
Philippo was forwarded to me off-list. Here is a match a few years
earlier:

Date: October 24, 1845
Newspaper: Emporium & True American
Newspaper Location: Trenton, New Jersey
Article: (Untitled filler item)
Quote Page 1, Column 3
Database: GenealogyBank

[Begin excerpt]
A country paper speaking of a blind wood-sawyer, says: “Although he
can't see he can saw."
[End excerpt]

Garson

On Wed, Jan 2, 2019 at 2:39 AM Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> An earlier variant first appeared in the British humor magazine, Judy (HathiTrust), and three days later in an English newspaper, and a slightly modified version appearing in several newspapers (newspapers.com) before the end of the year.
>
> "There's a blind carpenter in the West Riding of Yorkshire who, though he can't see a peg, can saw a log."
>
> Judy, September 7, 1870, page 201.
>
> The US versions replace,  "the West Riding of Yorkshire" with "out west."
> ________________________________
> From: ADSGarson O'Toole<mailto:adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: ‎1/‎1/‎2019 22:11
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU<mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Subject: Saying: "I see," said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer and saw.
>
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Saying: "I see," said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer
>               and saw.
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Wilson Gray mentioned the phrase in the subject line in a separate
> thread. Amy West and Jonathan Lighter commented. Here are three
> citations discovered via a few queries restricted to Newspapers.com
> (antedating should be possible).
>
> A match for the first part of the saying appeared by 1842.
>
> Date: October 15, 1842
> Newspaper: The Daily Madisonian
> Newspaper Location: Washington, District of Columbia
> Article: New York Correspondence
> Acknowledgement: From the N. Y. Standard
> Quote Page 2, Column 3
> Database: Newspapers.com
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> Let us see, said the blind man: let us see, for I fear some of us had
> a mist before our eyes, a delusion or spell, which is about to be
> dissipated.
> [End excerpt]
>
> A blind carpenter with a hammer and saw were mentioned by 1890.
>
> Date: October 13, 1890
> Newspaper: Morning Journal and Courier
> Newspaper Location: New Haven, Connecticut
> Article: Remarkable
> Quote Page 1, Column 7
> Database: Newspapers.com
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> Quite a remarkable thing happened to a blind carpenter the other
> day=E2=80=94he took his hammer and saw. =E2=80=94Commercial Bulletin.
> [End excerpt]
>
> A wagon maker, blind carpenter, deaf sheep ranchman, noseless
> fisherman, and others were mentioned in 1891.
>
> Date: March 11, 1891
> Newspaper: Daily Nebraska State Journal
> Newspaper Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
> Article: Newspaper Drift
> Quote Page 4, Column 3
> Database: Newspapers.com
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> Here is a remarkable case. The other day a wagon maker who had been
> dumb for years, picked up a hub and spoke. =E2=80=94Binghampton Republican.
>
> Yes, and a blind carpenter on the same day reached out for his plane
> and saw, and a deaf sheep ranchman went out with his dog and herd and
> a noseless fisherman caught a barrel herring and smelt, and a defunct
> hatter was tenderly deposited on a pile of hair and felt, and a forty
> ton elephant inserted his trunk into a grate and flue.
> [End excerpt]
>
> Barry Popik has a pertinent entry with a first citation in 1893.
>
> =E2=80=9C=E2=80=98I see,=E2=80=99 said the blind carpenter as he picked up =
> his hammer and saw=E2=80=9D
> https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/i_see_said_the_bli=
> nd_carpenter/
>
> Garson
>
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>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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