Friedrich Schringenrudder's Foppish Neckwear

Dec 17, 2011

RAY: This puzzler was sent in by Patrick Mooney. Here it goes:

Somewhere around 1912 or 1913, aviation began to really catch on in Europe. It didn't become popular earlier... because there were no planes. But it was fortunate that it did catch on when it did because they were going to need all those planes and pilots for World War I.
Now, the legend goes that it was around that time that the soon-to-be-famous pilot Friedrich Schringenrudder started wearing a very long silk scarf that the lovely Fraulein Blucher had made for him. Now, Friedrich had long been know for his foppish flying duds and was a popular figure at the local Gasthaus.

But as stylish as it was, that long scarf was not worn for fashion reasons. So the question is, why did Friedrich wear that scarf and why was it so long?
RAY: Here's the answer. Back then, planes had two cycle engines. Just like your big weed whacker or your chain saw, they had to mix the gasoline and the oil, and the oil of choice then was castor oil. Of course, the pilot sat right behind the engine, and the exhaust fumes laden with castor oil would blow in his face.

When the pilot landed the plane, he'd have to make a mad dash to the outhouse, because castor oil as we know is a pretty good laxative. So, the scarf was extra long so that as he flew and it got saturated with the oil, the pilot would pull on the short end of the scarf and keep exposing a new section. The scarf would act as a filter.

TOM: Gee, that's what I need for my MG.

RAY: You need more than the scarf. Do we have a winner?

TOM: We certainly do. Our winner this week is Paul Goode from Walla Walla, Washington. Congratulations Paul!

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