In Reply to: Knocking off posted by R A Collinge on November 01, 2008 at 19:37:
: Knocking off; re the first meaning- to stop work.
: It has been suggested to me that this derives from the practice of knocking a drive belt from a driving pulley to a free running pulley thus ceasing work It could apply to any belt driven machinery. In this case it was in 19th century wood turning mill. Any comment?
The difficulty here is that "knock off" meaning "to stop work" predates the Industrial Revolution. In the 17th century, when it is first recorded, belt driven machinery would have been quite rare. (VSD)