Nick mentioned how the Mad Hatter is named so because the hat-making industry in the 1800's often used mercury (Hg) to cure the animal pelts used.
The usual symptoms of mercury vapor toxicity include:
- parasthesias (numbness, tingling, and burning pain in the limbs)
- slurred speech
- hearing and vision problems
- anxiety or depression
- tremors and incoordination
The Mad Hatter of Lewis Carroll's story was more likely based on an eccentric furniture dealer named Theophilus Carter, who was known to hang out in his doorway wearing a top hat.
Many locals in Oxford called him "The Mad Hatter" and he was well known for his invention of an alarm clock bed that dumped you onto the floor when it went off.
That sounds mad to me. I'll stick to my regular alarm clock, thank you very much!
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