In an advert which caught my eye in the January 19th 1951 issue of John O’London’s Weekly is a description of ‘The Greatest Invention since the Alphabet ‘, the ‘Idea and Word Chart’ which ‘ gives the right word at a glance ‘. It bears the recommendation of no less an authority that ‘famous author‘ Gilbert Frankau, who declared it ‘ the best adjunct that I have so far discovered –it is not going to leave my desk.’
Unfortunately, like so many ‘adjuncts‘ this piece of kit wasn’t available to examine in shops. So aspiring authors had to send away for a ‘ free specimen… embodied in a descriptive brochure ‘.
In what way ‘ The Idea and Word Chart ‘ differed in its function from the excellent and best-selling Thesaurus of Dr Roget we are not told. We are offered a rather feint and distinctly unhelpful image of an octagon- shaped piece of card in which a pensive-looking man—possibly Mr Frankau—is depicted at the vortex of a whorl of words and concepts that includes the unfortunate juxtaposition of ‘ passageways ‘ and ‘desires’. Continue reading