Oh what pun! — Long days, long winters and long speeches

Maury Thompson
2 min readNov 7, 2020


Here’s a historic newspaper pun that raises a different perspective on the “Early to bed — early to rise” adage.

“Retiring early at night will surely shorten a man’s days,” The Granville Sentinel quipped on Dec. 29, 1876.

December starts the season of many long nights and lots of snow.

“Many of our citizens have gone into a profitable banking business — banking up their houses to keep out the cold,” the Sentinel quipped on Dec. 1, 1876.

From the Sept. 8, 1876 Sentinel: “The young man who wrote and asked his girl to accept a bucket of flowers became a little pale when she said she said she wooden ware it.”

And there’s the pun about the grandmother of invention.

“A darning machine has been invented, and it is called ‘a cast iron grandmother,’” the Sentinel quipped on Dec. 15, 1876.

Here’s a pun with a metaphorical lesson.

“Some wise philosopher has observed that it is one thing to blow the gospel trumpet, but quite another to play an inspiring tune,” the Sentinel mused on Jan. 5, 1877.

Politicians often toot their own horns.

“Nowadays all those high-toned politicians are going around making champagne speeches, and when I was a girl hard cider was good enough for the best of them,” The Morning Star quoted “Old Lady Parvenu” on Oct. 15, 1884.

Audiences generally are pleased when a politician comes to the peroration — or conclusion — of his or her speech.

“Why is an orator during his peroration like a man about to dress in the morning?” The Granville Sentinel punned on Nov. 3, 1876. “Because he’s nearing his close.”

It’s generally considered rude to pun on a person’s last name, but the Sentinel on Feb. 23, 1877 could not resist.

“Bakeoven is the last name of one of Pennsylvania’s legislators. His legislation should be well done.”

The Morning Star on Aug. 14, 1884 offered advice to politicians who are on the receiving end of mudslinging.

“Like a mud spot, if anyone daubs you with slander, let it alone. For if you attempt to rub it out you only rub it deeper in. Wait until the slander dries out, and then you can brush it off without being contaminated.”

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Maury Thompson

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY