[Ads-l] Optimists invent airplanes; pessimists invent parachutes

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 28 20:28:56 EDT 2021


Fantastic citation, Pete. Thanks for searching.

The Google Books database contains many issues of Rotarian in full
view, so I was surprised that GB was only showing a snippet.

I have now determined that the full view issues of Rotarian are not
completely searchable. The search index for the full view Rotarian
issues must be corrupted. Thus, I manually looked through the issues,
and finally found the target text in the May 1939 issue on page 53.
Here is a link to the beginning of the issue. (Search within the issue
does not work. You have to manually go to page 53.)

https://books.google.com/books?id=e0EEAAAAMBAJ&

The QI article will be updated, and you will be acknowledged, Pete.

Date: May 1939
Periodical: Rotarian
Publisher: Rotary International, Chicago, Illinois
Section: What They're Saying
Article: Optimism Versus Pessimism
Author: W. H. H. MacKellar (Honorary Rotarian) Peekskill, New York
Quote Page 53, Column 1
Database: Google Books Full View

[Begin excerpt]
It was optimism that originated the steam
boiler. It blew up. Then pessimism came along
and added the safety valve. Optimism built the
steam engine, and it ran away, until pessimism
invented the governor. Optimism laid down the
railroad, but pessimism made it practicable with
the air brake and the block-signal system. Optimism
designed a ship to sail daringly into the
skies—and fall perhaps at times. So pessimism
designed the parachute.
[End excerpt]

Garson

On Fri, May 28, 2021 at 4:47 PM Pete Morris <mr_peter_morris at outlook.com> wrote:
>
> From The Rotarian, Google dated to 1939.  Usual caveats apply.
>
>
>
> << It was optimism that originated the steam boiler. It blew up. Then
> pessimism came along and invented the steam valve. Optimism built the
> steam engine, and it ran away until pessimism invented the governor.
> Optimism laid down the railroad , but pessimism made it practicable with
> the air brake and the block - signal system . Optimism designed a ship
> to sail daringly into the skies — and fall perhaps at times . So
> pessimism designed the parachute .>>
>
>
> https://www.google.co.uk/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=%22Optimism+laid+down+the+railroad+,+but+pessimism+made+it+practicable+with+the+air+brake+and+the+block+-+signal+system+.+Optimism+designed+a+ship+to+sail+daringly+into+the+skies+%E2%80%94+and+fall+perhaps+at+times+.+So+pessimism+designed+the+parachute%22&num=10
>
>
>
> ------ Original Message ------
> From: "ADSGarson O'Toole" <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
> To: ADS-L at listserv.uga.edu
> Sent: 28/05/2021 15:53:14
> Subject: Optimists invent airplanes; pessimists invent parachutes
>
> >A retired librarian contacted me and inquired about the saying in the
> >subject line. The earliest match I found appeared in the “Chicago
> >Tribune” within the long-running column called “A Line O’ Type Or
> >Two”.
> >
> >[ref] 1967 September 1, Chicago Tribune, A Line O' Type Or Two, Quote
> >Page 16, Column 3, Chicago, Illinois. (Newspapers_com) [/ref]
> >
> >[Begin excerpt]
> >Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist
> >invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.
> >Gil Stern
> >[End excerpt]
> >
> >Gil Stern was a humorist who supplied jokes to several columnists.
> >Currently, he is the leading candidate for originator of this quip.
> >The first attributions to other people occurred years afterwards. Here
> >is a link to the QI article:
> >
> >The Optimist Invents the Airplane and the Pessimist the Parachute
> >https://quoteinvestigator.com/2021/05/27/parachute/
> >
> >After I found the "Chicago Tribune" citation I discovered that Barry
> >Popik had previously written an excellent piece on this topic. Barry's
> >earliest citation was dated September 7, 1967, and no attribution was
> >provided by that citation. I thought that the "Chicago Tribune"
> >citation presented important information, so I moved forward with
> >posting a QI article with an acknowledgment.
> >
> >[Begin acknowledgement]
> >Great thanks to Stephen Bridge whose inquiry led QI to formulate this
> >question and perform this exploration. Bridge pointed out that
> >confusion may have been caused by similar names.
> >
> >Special thanks to researcher Barry Popik who posted a webpage on this
> >topic located here. Popik’s first citation was dated September 7,
> >1967. The citation provided no attribution. Popik also located helpful
> >citations with attributions to Mack McGinnis, Gladys Bronwyn Stern,
> >and Gil Stern.
> >[End acknowledgement]
> >
> >Feedback welcome
> >Garson
> >
> >------------------------------------------------------------
> >The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
>
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