Origins of ordinary things: Blankets

Blankets are a prized possession of every home. Quite a number of people cannot sleep without their protective covering. Although blankets provide warmth, they do not have the ability to generate it. According to Quora, a knowledge dissemination platform, blankets keep us warm by trapping heat from our bodies and preventing it from escaping to the surroundings.

Although the word blanket is said to be of German origin, the blanket does not originate from Germany. WikiAnswers, an online platform that provides answers to general knowledge question says that blankets are prehistoric. The first blankets are said to have been made of animal skin, piles of grass and woven reeds. The evidence is said to be in ancient tombs around the world.

The woolen blankets that we know and love today, on the other hand, are said to have been pioneered by Thomas Blanket, a Flemish weaver and wool merchant who lived in England in the 14th century. This is according to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.

This is not to say that Blankets were named after Thomas Blanket. The word is said to have been in existence at least a century before Thomas Blanket was born.

In fact, according to article “Man we have to thank for a good night’s sleep”, by The Bristol Post, Thomas Blanket is likely to have acquired his surname from making blankets the way blacksmiths in the medieval times were called Smith. What is true is that Thomas Blanket made and popularised the first bed coverings that were both effective and affordable.

Due to technological changes, woolen blankets are not the only type of blankets available today. For instance, there are electric blankets and blankets made of synthetic fibres.

Although the thick and cozy fabric is associated with warmth, it can be used in other ways. Home Security Guru, an online platform that provides tips on home safety, says that one can extinguish small fires by covering them with a wool blanket. This is because wool blankets cut off the oxygen that the fire would need to keep burning.

Because of its eminent use, the word blanket has been associated with many expressions. For instance, the common idiom “blanket term” is used when describing wide range of similar things. “Blanket drill” means sleep. A child who was born out of wedlock is said to have been born on the wrong side of the blanket.

Another common idiom is “Wet blanket”. It is used to describe someone who ruins fun. For instance, if a teacher is always serious and does not allow laughter and jokes in the classroom, that teacher can be defined as a wet blanket.