Posted by Bob on July 28, 2006
In Reply to: Setting Thames on fire posted by Ian Robey on July 28, 2006
: Setting Thames on fire = The Thames was a carding machine used to dress cotton and it was activated by turning a handle. Someone who was lethatgic was said not to be likely to set the machine on fire because of friction. Likely explanation ?
Since there is a simlar Roman expression, using the Tiber River, and a German one using the Rhine, the relation to the carding machine seems unlikely to be the source. See previous discussion at http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/6/messages/616.html