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My nose is running...

Posted by Baceseras on December 04, 2007

In Reply to: My nose is running... posted by RRC on December 04, 2007

: : My grandma (1889-1970) used to say 'My nose is running like a soap boiler's bottom.' When she had a runny nose. I used to think she meant a person, but I have discovered that there is a 'pan' called a 'soap boiler' for - er - making soap. Does anyone know, or has anyone heard this before?

: I haven't heard it. There are no Google hits on "soap boiler's bottom" (or several cruder substitutes for bottom I also tried). It says there are about 20,100 hits for "soap boiler". In a quick glance, 59 of the first 60 hits refer to a person or establishment and only 1 to a vessel.

I've never made soap, and don't know the lore or lingo of the soap-maker's art; but I do know that in wine-making the dregs left in the cask after the good wine has gone into bottles is called the 'bottom'. It's possible the same term is (or was) used for the dregs of soap in a boiler. If these dregs are as I picture them - a slick and gobby semi-liquid - what a nice image for the product of Granny's runny nose!