Leonardo da Vinci-Human Proportion

Contrivance’s and Contraptions

Warren Zaus was a renowned ‘tinkerer’.  A potterer in sheds, an alchemist in the laboratory, a browser in the library.  He created many items we take for granted in the 21st century.  The bedroom slipper, bombay mix and the ‘ewbank’, are all believed, by this author, to have come from the mind of the great work.

Figure 1: Hussar for slippers

The bedroom slipper.  Beloved by many on a chilly morning, berated by those searching and finding only one of the brace, half chewed and abandoned by an excitable puppy, under the bed. The first mention of slippers in is the 12th century, in what is now Vietnam.  The trend of slippers spreads east to China and Japan, where taking ones outdoor shoes off when one entered ones home was common practice. In the English speaking world, the first mention of the word ‘slipper’, referring to an item of footwear, is from the 15th century.  The popular gentleman’s slipper was first introduced by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria, Empress of India.  A luxurious creation of velvet outing, silk lining and leather sole, Warren is known to have owned many pairs of slippers. Warren is also known to have travelled in the Far East quite some time ago, during the Song Dynasty, and came up with the idea of having something comfortable to wear other than his travelling shoes.  His most infamous slippers are his moleskin slippers with the peacock feather lining.  Cities and Empires have fallen under those mighty creations, and yet they remain remarkably comfortable.  His everyday slippers include a pair given to him by Arthur Conan Doyle, and are of a robust and thick velvet of midnight blue.  The lining of the finest scarlet silk, and a sole of soft calf skin, he generally teams these up with a smoking jacket and cap of similar hues.  His favourites were a gift from Prince Albert himself.  Enthralled by Zaus when he visited Osborne House unexpectedly, and without invitation, in the summer of 1853, he took tea and cake and enraptured the family with tales of travel and adventure. Albert wished to give Zaus a gift when he left.  Warren pointed out the prince’s slippers and said… “I like them”.  To which the prince cried…  “They are yours”.  They are of a mustard coloured moleskin, with red lining and tassel.  Morris owns only one type of slipper.  White, towelling mules.   These can be heard flip flopping about whenever he’s had a bath.

Popular pub snack Bombay Mix, was created by Warren when he was a little peckish out in Nepal overseeing an archaeological dig near Janakpur.  He decided the name for this new snack would be ‘Bombay Mix’ as opposed to ‘Janakpur Mix’ as Bombay was easier to pronounce.  On occasion he would suffer the most dreadful wind due to the high dried bean content.  This rather upset the local holy men as they believed demonic djin were being roused from an ancient slumber.  The smell of sulphur was very distinct.

Figure 2: Early 'Ewbank'

Carpet sweepers were, and still are, a popular method of cleaning a carpet or rug.  After people grew tired of mercilessly beating the inoffensive rug with a stout implement, and before the invention of the vacuum cleaner, the essential workings were very simple.  It was, in effect, a box on a long handle containing two brushes that would rotate and flip any dirt or detritus back into the collection box.  The user would grasp the handle and with a back and forth motion of the arm, propel the box and brushes across the floor, thus forcing the unwanted items into the box and cleaning the carpet.  Before Melville Bissell patented his carpet sweeper in 1876, Warren disliked the idea of having crumbs from his supper collecting around his armchair while he read.  He drew up plans and fashioned a device similar to that mentioned above, but on a smaller scale.  Thus he was able to read and sweep up the crumbs of his supper from around his chair, but also from off his smoking jacket, without calling for a dust pan and brush.

Morris has invented many ‘cocktails’.  The least offensive being the ‘San Quentin Surprise’, containing rubbing alcohol, orange juice, cola, fresh cream and a silver skin onion.  The ‘Trebuchet Special’, from his ‘Cosmic Egg Collection’ is his Pièce de résistance.  Comprising crème de menthe, white rum, prune juice, stout, Babycham and advocaat, with a dash of lime – shaken vigorously with crushed ice and finally poured over half a scotch egg which has been placed, egg side up, at the bottom of the glass.  The other egg half being split in two and placed at a jaunty angle on the side of the glass.  Very popular allegedly.


Posted in Chronicles, Historical Notes

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