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As Mad as a Hatter

As Mad as a Hatter

Mad Hatter hat from time burtons alice in wonderland

The term as mad as a hatter is quite famous, and also fairly appropriate as Tim Burtons take on Alice in Wonderland has recently come out. But did you know that Hatters probably were indeed mad.

Hatters worked with mercury in the manufacture of hats, mercury is a nasty substance that can cause many diseases such as acrodinia,Hunter-Russell syndrome and minamata desease. A few signs and symptoms of mercury poisoning are:

paresthesia or “pins and needles”/limb gone to sleep

Skin discolouration and shedding

Persistant faster-than-normal heart rate and high blood pressure

Aggressiveness, mood-swings

profuse sweating and increased salavation

Phrases also has this to say;

“Hatters commonly suffered from ‘hatter’s shakes’, a form of nerve damage which gave symptoms similar to Parkinson’s Disease and which is still known today as ‘Mad Hatter’s Syndrome'”

All in all not the kinda thing you want when trying to impress a date, and does go some way to explaining where the term came from. However. There is one more theory.


Hatters was a term given to miners that worked alone in New Zealand. Often going mad from the solitude.


[Source: Phrases][Source: Wikipedia]

About The Author

Luke B

Luke B started life on his day of birth, strangely. He enjoys artistic and creative pursuits such as painting, drawing, sculpture, music, 3D graphics, video games and everything else. He builds websites as his day-job and builds personal ones in his spare time. He also likes Lego.

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