Wrightstyle, Guy Fawkes, and cock and bull

Date: 11 December 2013
Source: Wrightstyle
Wrightstyle, the leading UK steel glazing company, supplies its bomb and fire-rated systems internationally.

Jane Embury, the company’s marketing director, takes an oblique look at how far glass and glazing has come in recent years.  

 

We live in a world full of cock and bull stories, although the popular origin of the phrase is itself…well, quite probably a cock and bull story.

 

The story goes that travellers heading north on 18th and 19th century mail coaches from London would stop at Stony Stratford near Milton Keynes.  The original road, built by the Romans, is now the A5.

 

Travellers would refresh themselves in one of the town’s two main coaching inns, The Cock or The Bull, where fanciful tales and so-called news would become hopelessly embellished.  The two establishments still exist.

 

The town’s website says that “the High Street still contains a wealth of coaching inns that thrived in this period, including The Cock and The Bull; in these inns travellers vied with each other in the telling of outrageous stories…”

 

It’s a phrase the glass industry became familiar with when, in the wake of Hurricane Andrew and the Oklahoma bombing, we began to develop new glass and framing systems to withstand the huge pressures generated by super-storms or terrorist attack.  (For a Wrightstyle perspective on these glass developments, click here).

 

But there were few architects and designers who believed that glass, inherently fragile, could be reinvented as a super-strong product capable of defying the worst that nature or human nature could throw at it.  Cock and bull, we were repeatedly told.

But that’s exactly what has happened.  Modern glazing systems are now so advanced that they can withstand the detonation of an adjacent lorry bomb, or fire protect a building or its escape routes for two hours or more.

 

At Wrightstyle, we know this to be true because we’ve blown up 500kg of TNT-equivalent explosive next to one of our systems, and undergone extensive fire testing in the UK, USA and Far East.  To see video of our blast testing against both a lorry and car bomb, visit our website www.wrightstyle.co.uk

While our advanced systems can be found worldwide, they are also protecting high-value buildings in, for example, Hong Kong – a typhoon area, where wind loading is a particular factor for specifiers. 

While we have traditionally been specialists in steel glazing systems, we have also now been approved as a Schueco aluminium fabricator – giving us a broad range of systems and glass types across both steel and aluminium, and therefore able to meet a comprehensive range of specifications.

 

As an example of how far glass and glazing has come, compare our blast testing with the infamous Gunpowder Plot and the 2,500kg of gunpowder that Guy Fawkes hid under the Houses of Parliament with the intention of blowing up King James Ion 5th November 1605.

 

It’s been estimated by physicists from the University of Wales’ Centre for Explosion Studies that the amount of explosive that Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators had hidden in the Westminster cellars would have caused devastation over a 490-metre radius, and broken windows a third of a mile away.

 

Another explosive expert, Dr Sidney Alford, has calculated that Guy Fawkes placed 25 times the amount of explosive that he needed to devastate parliament and kill the king – a mere 100kg of gunpowder would have been enough.

 

That calculation, with gunpowder and TNT being roughly equal in their explosive effects, means that our landmark lorry bomb test successfully passed – by a margin of five times – what Guy Fawkes would have needed to destroy parliament.

 

In other words, modern glazing systems can absorb blast and high wind-loading pressures that were unimaginable just a few years ago. 

And that’s not a cock and bull story.

 

www.wrightstyle.co.uk

Ends

 

The origins of cock and bull quite possibly go back to talking animals in ancient folk tales.  Also, a French term 'coq-a-l'âne' from the early 17th century translates as “from rooster to jackass” and loosely means an incoherent story.  The first mention of 'cock and bull' stories in English comes from Robert Burton in The Anatomy of Melancholy, 1621: "Some mens whole delight is to talk of a Cock and Bull over a pot."  Most likely, the phrase is therefore about cocks and bulls, rather than stories told in the Cock and the Bull.  There again, who knows?

 

Jane Embury, Wrightstyle, +44 (0) 1380 722 239

jane.embury@wrightstyle.co.uk  

Charlie Laidlaw, David Gray PR, +44 (0) 1620 844736

(mob) +44 (0) 7890 396518

Charlie.laidlaw@yahoo.co.uk  

600450 Wrightstyle, Guy Fawkes, and cock and bull glassonweb.com

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