Where did the phrase “mad as a hatter” come from? Why was the “hatter” considered mad?
Madness was not a prerequisite for the milliner’s craft, but, unfortunately, in the 19th century mercurous nitrate was used in the making of felt hats, and it produced tremors akin to St. Vitus’ dance; this is the likely origin of the saying. (Lewis Carroll popularized the phrase in his book, Alice in Wonderland.)
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