August 5th, 2016
What a man carries on his person says a lot about him. We can gain a better understanding of his profession, his style and his personal history. We set out to find what some of our heroes used in their daily life and a few of the items we discovered were very unexpected.
Humphrey Bogart | Golden Whistle
Inscribed with the phrase "If you want anything, just whistle." a reference from his first movie with Lauren Bacall (shown in the video below).
He gifted this gold charm as part of a bracelet to Bacall before they were married. It was later returned to him and when Bogart died in 1957, he was buried with it.
Mark Twain | Notebooks
At the age of 21, while in training to become a steamboat pilot, Twain was urged to get a notebook to remember his teacher's instructions. From then on he always kept a notebook in his pocket, writing his day to day tasks, meals, thoughts on religion and politics, and even dirty jokes. By the time of his death he had jotted down enough witty tidbits to fill almost 50 pocket notebooks.
Prince Charles | Signet Ring
Dating back to Queen Victoria, British royalty wear signet rings on their pinky fingers as a tradition. Originally used to stamp documents in place of a signature, signet rings became a sign of high status instead. Prince Charles, as the Prince of Wales wears a 175 year old gold signet ring on his pinky finger, originally worn by King Edward VIII.
Frank Sinatra | Roll of Dimes
When Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped at the age of 19, Sinatra Sr. was told by the kidnappers that all communication needed to be by payphone. Thus, Sinatra Sr. kept a roll of dimes in his pocket to ensure he could contact the kidnappers at all times. After Sinatra Sr. paid the $240,000 ransom and secured the release of Sinatra Jr., he kept a roll of dimes in his pocket from then on, eventually buried with a roll of dimes in 1998.
Roald Dahl | No. 2 Pencil
A prolific word smith, Roald Dahl's influence on young adults all over the world is undeniable. Like Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, many of his novels went on to become successful movies. Early in his career as a writer he developed an affinity for HB No.2 Pencils. This lead him to carry them in his pocket, as well as write his novels in pencil.
James Bowie | Knife
While there is some dispute over who originally designed the "Bowie" knife, there is no debate over who made it famous. James Bowie started carrying his hunting knife after he was shot at by a feuding rival. Bowie used his knife on several occasions, perhaps most notably during the Sandar Fight, where he disemboweled his foe after having been shot and with a sword protruding from his chest.
Winston Churchill | Gold Pocket Watch
The "British Bulldog" as the Russians referred to him, Churchill was steadfast icon during a tumultuous period of Britain's history. Of the pictures that remain of him, it is hard to find one without his smoke or his prized Bregue pocket watch, which he dubbed "The Turnip". As his grandson said in an interview "take away his cigar or pocket watch and he might as well be naked".
Charles Dickens | Compass
Often called the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, Dickens was extremely popular during his time. Despite Dickens having no formal education he was considered a literary genius in his time and his contemporary fans were always eager to read his next novel. To aid his creative productivity Dickens carried a compass at all times because he thought it was necessary to sleep and write facing north. Perhaps there was some truth to this, considering his legacy.
Howard Hughes | Surgical Soap
Aviator, Engineer, Investor, Philanthropist and Director, Hughes had a varied resume. His eccentricity may have played a part in his successes, but what came with it was a paralyzing fear of germs. His phobia was an enormous part of his life and was the reason for his odd everyday carry item, which he used whenever he felt he had been contaminated.
Abraham Lincoln | Confederate Five-Dollar Bill
We all know the story of Lincoln's assassination in Ford's Theater, but a lesser known fact is what Lincoln had on him at the time of his assassination. The contents of his pocket are stored in the Library of Congress and among the items is a Five-Dollar Confederate bill. While Lincoln most likely had this to add to his collection of personal oddities, a member of the staff at the Library of Congress quipped that Lincoln "liked to be prepared for all contingencies".