Wednesday, March 19, 2008

British "limeys"

Interesting, from IMDB's entry about the John Adams mini series currently airing:

Did You Know?: History buffs might recall that a British Navy surgeon shortly before 1750 concluded that sailors, by sucking on limes, could reduce the incidence of painful and debilitating scurvy. Concurrent experiments involving sailors taking vinegar or sea water failed. Eighteenth century medicine was unaware that limes contained Vitamin C (a substance not really understood until the 1930s) and also did not fully comprehend scurvy as a nutritional disease, but crews were issued limes in their rations after the field study. British sailors and later British people generally were nicknamed "limeys" shortly afterward. At the film's dock set, around a peck of sucked-on cut limes litter the ground as if discarded by sailors.