Not the computer.

I’m in Scotland for a couple of weeks. A visit to the beautiful island of Islay in the Inner Hebrides prompted a memory of calling raincoats mackintoshes, or mac for short. So following on from the last blog, about tarmacadam, this is about another Scottish inventor, a chemist called Charles Macintosh (1766–1843), who invented the waterproof material that bears his name.

The fabric used for a mackintosh was made waterproof by cementing two thicknesses of it together with rubber dissolved in a coal-tar naphtha solution (there’s the tar again!).

And by the way, for all the moaning minnies abroad who think it rains all the time in Scotland, we didn’t need to wear a mackintosh at all. Admittedly, we do have an arsenal of clothing to protect us from the rain (which sometimes falls!). It includes wellies, or Wellington boots – named after the Duke of Wellington who had his shoemaker make his riding boots shorter, for more comfort. In 1856, the Edinburgh-based North British Rubber Company had started to manufacture Britain’s first rubber or ‘gum’ boots. With the name of the duke still retaining a patriotic pull on consumers, these new boots were soon also renamed Wellingtons in Britain.

Even the sheep have wellies in Scotland😊