Published: 02nd February 2021
#ThrowBackToday: The day writer Mark Twain picked up the pen for good and how he got his name
In today's #TBT, we talk about Samuel Longhorne Clemens AKA Mark Twain who gave us amazing characters like Tom Sawyer. Ever wondered how his name came to be Mark Twain? Read on to find out
Do you know who Samuel Longhorne Clemens? Yet, lit buff or not, you must surely know Mark Twain! Well, the latter is the pen name of the former! And it was on the blessed day of February 2, 1863 that Twain, after deciding to try his luck at writing, luckily for us, penned a funny little travel story for the Territorial Enterprise, a newspaper. And there is a grand story behind why the revered American writer, who gave us a wealth of classics like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and many more, took to this particular name for the first time.
Though he was already working with a newspaper before he turned 21, he bid farewell to the job to pursue his dream of working aboard a steamboat. So he became a cub-pilot. Now, this is where you really need to pay attention. A depth of 12 feet was needed for the safe passage of the steamboat and the way this was measured was to throw a rope overboard. When the safety mark was estimated, the crew member would yell, "Mark Twain" (Mark Two). Fascinating, right?
Before he died he wrote, "I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together; they must go out together’.” And indeed, he had his way.
READ ALSO: #ThrowBackToday: How the world mourned the death of astronaut Kalpana Chawla and her brilliance
Flush it away
It was at 95 Fleet Street, London that the world's first public toilet that flushed was installed on February 2, 1852. And those who wanted to use it would have to hand over two pence. And guess what? The people of the Big Smoke were not impressed and soon, these toilets had to be uninstalled.