Someone sent these three items to my e-mail the other day and, while they don't have much value, they were fun to read:
1. In George Washington's days, there were no cameras. One's image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters then were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are "limbs," therefore painting them would cost the buyer more...Hence the expression, "Okay, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg." (Artists knew hands and arms were more difficult to paint)
2. Again, back in George Washington's time, men and women usually took baths only twice a year (May and October). Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn't wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term "big wig." Today we often use that term because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.
3. At local taverns, pubs and bars of olden days, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid's job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in "pints" and who was drinking in "quarts." Hence the term "minding your "P's and Q's."
Who knows if these are actually true, but they are fun to read and think about.