Textile Terms: “Mad as a Hatter”

In medieval times, people who made and dyed hats were called hatters. Most dyes require mordanting agents, made from heavy metals such as aluminum and tin. Hatters often came into contact with these solutions, which are known to cause serious mental problems. (We still hear about lead and arsenic poisoning today.) Gradually, other sanity challenged people came to be described as “Mad as a hatter.”

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