Discussion:
What is the erotic meaning of "pneumatic" in Huxley and Eliot?
(too old to reply)
j***@m5.chi.il.us
2007-04-15 18:22:24 UTC
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This is a question that has puzzled me for more than 30 years, and, as
I am
now of an age when one wants to begin crossing things off of one's "to-
do"
list, it is time for me to get this question answered.

In 'Brave New World", Huxley uses the word "pneumatic" in a clearly
erotic
sense, but his meaning is a mystery to me. From Chapter 3 of Brave
New
World:

"Oh, she's a splendid girl. Wonderfully pneumatic."

Chapter 5:

But she was really too pneumatic. Whereas Fifi and Joanna were
absolutely right. Plump, blonde, not too large...

Chapter 6:

"I think she had yellow hair. Anyhow she was pneumatic,
particularly pneumatic;"

and so throughout the entire book.

This usage is not idiosyncratic to Huxley. From T. S. Eliot's poem,
"Whispers of Immortality":

Grishkin is nice; her Russian eye
Is underlined for emphasis;
Uncorseted, her friendly bust
Gives promise of pneumatic bliss.

where the erotic meaning is even clearer than in Huxley.

According to the dictionary definition, "pneumatic" means having to do
with
air, or gas. E.g., a pneumatic drill, or pneumatic tires. I do not
discern the connection between gas and a woman's charms (the term
seems to
be applied only to women, but that may perhaps be only because all the
writers are men). I have formed two theories.

Theory 1: The Brits are sexually aroused by flatulent women.
The problem with this theory is that it implies that the Brits are
different from you and me. I have always believed, and so far my
belief
has not been disconfirmed by experience, that people are pretty much
the
same all over the world. I know about James Joyce and Nora, but I
always
figured that Joyce was a pervert, and not characteristic of Brits in
general (besides, Joyce was an Irishman, not a Brit, and if he left
Ireland and never returned to it that was only in order better to be
able
to forge in the smithy of his soul the uncreated conscience of his
race).
Now, it could be that Huxley and Eliot were also abnormal, and in
the
same way that Joyce was, but the flaw in this hypothesis is that
they use
the word "pneumatic" expecting their readers to know what they are
talking about and to sympathize with it, whereas, even if Huxley and
Eliot were both statistical outliers, which is conceivable, they
would
nonetheless know that they were statistical outliers, and not expect
their readers to share the same tastes.

Theory 2: The term is derived from "pneumatic tires", which were
perhaps
recent novelties during the time that Huxley and Eliot were writing,
and,
by extension, describes a firm but yielding tactile sensation which
is
characteristic of pneumatic tires, and is considered to be a
desirable
quality in the feel of a woman's breasts.

The problem with this theory is that a woman's breasts do not feel
like
pneumatic tires (it is well known that they feel more like two bags
of
sand). Perhaps, it may be argued, this sensation may be obtained
only
from the healthiest, fittest, and most desirable of women, and
consequently many men have never experienced it. However, I have
held
pneumatic tires in my hand, and the sensation has brought me no
erotic
pleasure. And there is a sound epidemiological basis for my belief
that
these tastes are typical of my sex -- because if pneumatic tires
felt
good to most (or even many) men, you would see men employing them
for
erotic purposes, and you do not.

Both these theories, then, have flaws which render them implausible,
and I
am left with an unanswered question: What is the erotic meaning of
"pneumatic" in Huxley and Eliot? If you prefor to answer me directly,
and
not post a message of limited interest to the entire discussion group,
you
may contact me using any of the means indicated below. I thank you in
advance for your replies.

Jay F. Shachter
6424 North Whipple Street
Chicago IL 60645-4111
United States

(1-773) 7613784
***@m5.chi.il.us (jay "at" m5 "dot" chi "dot" il "dot"
us)
the Omrud
2007-04-15 18:40:39 UTC
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Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
This is a question that has puzzled me for more than 30 years, and, as
I am now of an age when one wants to begin crossing things off of
one's "to-do" list, it is time for me to get this question answered.
In 'Brave New World", Huxley uses the word "pneumatic" in a clearly
erotic sense, but his meaning is a mystery to me. From Chapter 3 of
"Oh, she's a splendid girl. Wonderfully pneumatic."
But she was really too pneumatic. Whereas Fifi and Joanna were
absolutely right. Plump, blonde, not too large...
"I think she had yellow hair. Anyhow she was pneumatic,
particularly pneumatic;"
and so throughout the entire book.
...
Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
and I am left with an unanswered question: What is the erotic meaning
of "pneumatic" in Huxley and Eliot? If you prefor to answer me
directly, and not post a message of limited interest
Ha!
Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
to the entire discussion
group you may contact me using any of the means indicated below.
I thank you in advance for your replies.
Gosh, you put a lot of thought into this. It means she has large
breasts (as though they had been inflated).
--
David
=====
Al in Dallas
2007-04-15 19:12:59 UTC
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Post by the Omrud
Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
This is a question that has puzzled me for more than 30 years, and, as
I am now of an age when one wants to begin crossing things off of
one's "to-do" list, it is time for me to get this question answered.
In 'Brave New World", Huxley uses the word "pneumatic" in a clearly
erotic sense, but his meaning is a mystery to me. From Chapter 3 of
"Oh, she's a splendid girl. Wonderfully pneumatic."
But she was really too pneumatic. Whereas Fifi and Joanna were
absolutely right. Plump, blonde, not too large...
"I think she had yellow hair. Anyhow she was pneumatic,
particularly pneumatic;"
and so throughout the entire book.
...
Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
and I am left with an unanswered question: What is the erotic meaning
of "pneumatic" in Huxley and Eliot? If you prefor to answer me
directly, and not post a message of limited interest
Ha!
Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
to the entire discussion
group you may contact me using any of the means indicated below.
I thank you in advance for your replies.
Gosh, you put a lot of thought into this. It means she has large
breasts (as though they had been inflated).
Huxley couldn't have been more opague, IMHO.
--
Al in St. Lou
Grrr
2007-04-16 15:16:51 UTC
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Post by Al in Dallas
Post by the Omrud
Gosh, you put a lot of thought into this. It means she has large
breasts (as though they had been inflated).
Huxley couldn't have been more opague, IMHO.
I've heard the phrase "healthy lungs".
Percival P. Cassidy
2007-04-16 15:20:58 UTC
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Post by Grrr
Post by Al in Dallas
Post by the Omrud
Gosh, you put a lot of thought into this. It means she has large
breasts (as though they had been inflated).
Huxley couldn't have been more opague, IMHO.
I've heard the phrase "healthy lungs".
Or "a good pair of lungs."

Perce
Al in Dallas
2007-04-18 03:02:11 UTC
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On Mon, 16 Apr 2007 11:20:58 -0400, "Percival P. Cassidy"
Post by Percival P. Cassidy
Post by Grrr
Post by Al in Dallas
Post by the Omrud
Gosh, you put a lot of thought into this. It means she has large
breasts (as though they had been inflated).
Huxley couldn't have been more opague, IMHO.
I've heard the phrase "healthy lungs".
Or "a good pair of lungs."
Perce
Enlightenment! After two decades--shit! After three decades! (Gotta do
smth about this aging thing.)
--
Al in St. Lou
Mike Lyle
2007-04-18 17:15:45 UTC
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Post by Al in Dallas
On Mon, 16 Apr 2007 11:20:58 -0400, "Percival P. Cassidy"
Post by Percival P. Cassidy
Post by Grrr
Post by Al in Dallas
Post by the Omrud
Gosh, you put a lot of thought into this. It means she has large
breasts (as though they had been inflated).
Huxley couldn't have been more opague, IMHO.
I've heard the phrase "healthy lungs".
Or "a good pair of lungs."
Perce
Enlightenment! After two decades--shit! After three decades! (Gotta do
smth about this aging thing.)
Are you up with nice pairs of headlamps?
--
Mike.
--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
Percival P. Cassidy
2007-04-18 17:31:10 UTC
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Post by Mike Lyle
Post by Al in Dallas
Post by Percival P. Cassidy
Post by Grrr
I've heard the phrase "healthy lungs".
Or "a good pair of lungs."
Enlightenment! After two decades--shit! After three decades! (Gotta do
smth about this aging thing.)
Are you up with nice pairs of headlamps?
Ah, yes. That one rings a bell too.

Perce
Al in Dallas
2007-04-19 05:24:33 UTC
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On Wed, 18 Apr 2007 13:31:10 -0400, "Percival P. Cassidy"
Post by Percival P. Cassidy
Post by Mike Lyle
Post by Al in Dallas
Post by Percival P. Cassidy
Post by Grrr
I've heard the phrase "healthy lungs".
Or "a good pair of lungs."
Enlightenment! After two decades--shit! After three decades! (Gotta do
smth about this aging thing.)
Are you up with nice pairs of headlamps?
Ah, yes. That one rings a bell too.
I seem to be up all alone and clueless.
--
Al in St. Lou
Peter Moylan
2007-04-19 12:54:51 UTC
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Post by Al in Dallas
On Wed, 18 Apr 2007 13:31:10 -0400, "Percival P. Cassidy"
Post by Percival P. Cassidy
Post by Mike Lyle
Post by Al in Dallas
Post by Percival P. Cassidy
Post by Grrr
I've heard the phrase "healthy lungs".
Or "a good pair of lungs."
Enlightenment! After two decades--shit! After three decades! (Gotta do
smth about this aging thing.)
Are you up with nice pairs of headlamps?
Ah, yes. That one rings a bell too.
I seem to be up all alone and clueless.
Would hooters help?
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org

Please note the changed e-mail and web addresses. The domain
eepjm.newcastle.edu.au no longer exists, and I can no longer
receive mail at my newcastle.edu.au addresses. The optusnet
address could disappear at any time.
Evan Kirshenbaum
2007-04-19 06:14:52 UTC
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Post by Percival P. Cassidy
Post by Grrr
Post by Al in Dallas
Post by the Omrud
Gosh, you put a lot of thought into this. It means she has large
breasts (as though they had been inflated).
Huxley couldn't have been more opague, IMHO.
I've heard the phrase "healthy lungs".
Or "a good pair of lungs."
Huge...tracts of land.
--
Evan Kirshenbaum +------------------------------------
HP Laboratories |I value writers such as Fiske.
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 |They serve as valuable object
Palo Alto, CA 94304 |lessons by showing that the most
|punctilious compliance with the
***@hpl.hp.com |rules of usage has so little to do
(650)857-7572 |with either writing or thinking
|well.
http://www.kirshenbaum.net/ | --Richard Hershberger
Al in Dallas
2007-04-21 02:29:51 UTC
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On Wed, 18 Apr 2007 23:14:52 -0700, Evan Kirshenbaum
Post by Evan Kirshenbaum
Post by Percival P. Cassidy
Post by Grrr
Post by Al in Dallas
Post by the Omrud
Gosh, you put a lot of thought into this. It means she has large
breasts (as though they had been inflated).
Huxley couldn't have been more opague, IMHO.
I've heard the phrase "healthy lungs".
Or "a good pair of lungs."
Huge...tracts of land.
In college, we had that entire script memorized. There was something
about moose bites.
--
Al in St. Lou
R H Draney
2007-04-21 03:41:19 UTC
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Post by Al in Dallas
On Wed, 18 Apr 2007 23:14:52 -0700, Evan Kirshenbaum
Post by Evan Kirshenbaum
Huge...tracts of land.
In college, we had that entire script memorized. There was something
about moose bites.
And about people responsible for sacking people being sacked....

I never got around to memorizing it, but I do have a complete copy of the script
in my possession, which led to one of my odder posts to alt.folklore.urban a
couple of years back:

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.folklore.urban/msg/6ab6e314bcf65992

....r
--
"You got Schadenfreude on my Weltanschauung!"
"You got Weltanschauung in my Schadenfreude!"
Al in Dallas
2007-04-21 23:32:20 UTC
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Post by R H Draney
Post by Al in Dallas
On Wed, 18 Apr 2007 23:14:52 -0700, Evan Kirshenbaum
Post by Evan Kirshenbaum
Huge...tracts of land.
In college, we had that entire script memorized. There was something
about moose bites.
And about people responsible for sacking people being sacked....
I never got around to memorizing it, but I do have a complete copy of the script
in my possession, which led to one of my odder posts to alt.folklore.urban a
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.folklore.urban/msg/6ab6e314bcf65992
OMG, the errors that its grammar checker makes are proof that it can't
parse. Why would M$ believe their product could make a reasonable
summary?

I wonder what happens if one goes to the web site that generates
postmodern crap (the one that Lawler pointed to several times) and
then puts the output through Word's autosummerize tool? I'd try it
myself, but there's a ball game coming on soon.
--
Al in St. Lou
Purl Gurl
2007-04-15 18:52:55 UTC
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jay wrote:

(snipped)
Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
In 'Brave New World", Huxley uses the word "pneumatic" in a clearly
erotic sense, but his meaning is a mystery to me.
Here are two photographs of me demonstrating pneumatic erotica.

Loading Image...

Purl Gurl
Al in Dallas
2007-04-15 19:06:53 UTC
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Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
This is a question that has puzzled me for more than 30 years, and, as
I am
now of an age when one wants to begin crossing things off of one's "to-
do"
list, it is time for me to get this question answered.
In 'Brave New World", Huxley uses the word "pneumatic" in a clearly
erotic
sense, but his meaning is a mystery to me.
[snip examples and hypotheses]

I've wondered this myself ever since reading *Brave New World* in
college. I don't find either of your hypotheses plausible, however.
--
Al in St. Lou
Donna Richoux
2007-04-15 19:11:59 UTC
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<***@m5.chi.il.us> wrote:

[snip way too much speculation about 1930s "pneumatic"]

The MW-11 dictionary has, as the third definition, "3 : having a
well-proportioned feminine figure; especially : having a full bust."
and, by extension, describes a firm but yielding tactile sensation which
Consider visual appearance only. People look more than touch.

Jay, may I suggest the method of gathering facts first, and speculating
afterwards? Finding out how the word has been used, and when, and using
clues thus found to establish (if possible) why?

Unfortunately, Cassell's Dictionary of Slang has no entry, and the
Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang doesn't go up to P.
But I'll give you these hits from Google Books, in chronological order:

His Own Image: A Novel - Page 72
by Alan Dale - 1899 - 310 pages
... (Here she pressed a dry eye with a finger-tip, and caused her
pneumatic bosom to lift itself in a sigh.)

[Quite possibly this one is about a boat/ship, as many other "she/her"
references are:]
Chips from a Busy Workshop - Page 184
by Lorin Webster - 1919 - 191 pages
And even the bump caused her no inconvenience, She was so pneumatic
and light, So she rubbed but a moment the part that had seen dents,
And then skimmed ...

Story - Page 37
by Whit Burnett, Martha Foley - 1931
Abigail was such a little mite of a person that when her pneumatic
breasts got large they buoyed her up so it was no effort at all for
her to climb.

The Atlantic Monthly - Page 397
by John Davis Batchelder Collection (Library of
Congress) - 1932
She had the pneumatic bosom and fat red face that inspire
confidence in children. 'Well, I'm blessed,' she declared, 'if I
ever seen two lovelier kiddies!

English for the Armed Forces: Writing, Speaking, Reading - Page 112
by Americus George David Wiles, Arlin M. Cook, Jack
Trevithick - 1943 - 262 pages
Blithely she walked down the street as if she were walking on
pneumatic tires but that was when there was a surplus of rubber. 3.
...

The Island in the Square: A Novel - Page 289
by William Du Bois - 1947 - 391 pages
From the pom-poms on her slippers to the last tremor of her
pneumatic breasts, May was a college-town harlot in the flesh: a
far from outstanding member of ...

There are many other references to pneumatic tools of all kinds, guns,
tubes, signals, etc. The word itself is quite old and I can't say which
use gave rise to this piece of slang.
--
Best -- Donna Richoux
Nick Atty
2007-04-15 19:15:53 UTC
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Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
The problem with this theory is that a woman's breasts do not feel
like
pneumatic tires (it is well known that they feel more like two bags
of
sand).
You've left me wondering whether it's the women or the bags of sand that
I've known that were unusual.
--
On-line canal route planner: http://www.canalplan.org.uk

(Waterways World site of the month, April 2001)
My Reply-To address *is* valid, though likely to die soon
Spehro Pefhany
2007-04-15 21:16:14 UTC
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On Sun, 15 Apr 2007 20:15:53 +0100, the renowned Nick Atty
Post by Nick Atty
Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
The problem with this theory is that a woman's breasts do not feel
like
pneumatic tires (it is well known that they feel more like two bags
of
sand).
You've left me wondering whether it's the women or the bags of sand that
I've known that were unusual.
They feel like Korean mochi cakes.


Best regards,
Spehro Pefhany
--
"it's the network..." "The Journey is the reward"
***@interlog.com Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog Info for designers: http://www.speff.com
Nick Atty
2007-04-17 18:58:37 UTC
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On Sun, 15 Apr 2007 16:16:14 -0500, Spehro Pefhany
Post by Spehro Pefhany
On Sun, 15 Apr 2007 20:15:53 +0100, the renowned Nick Atty
Post by Nick Atty
Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
The problem with this theory is that a woman's breasts do not feel
like
pneumatic tires (it is well known that they feel more like two bags
of
sand).
You've left me wondering whether it's the women or the bags of sand that
I've known that were unusual.
They feel like Korean mochi cakes.
Which do? Should I go out to Korea to check what bags of sand ought to
feel like before I buy any more?
--
On-line canal route planner: http://www.canalplan.org.uk

(Waterways World site of the month, April 2001)
My Reply-To address *is* valid, though likely to die soon
Martin Ambuhl
2007-04-15 19:45:02 UTC
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Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
According to the dictionary definition, "pneumatic" means having to do
with
air, or gas. E.g., a pneumatic drill, or pneumatic tires. I do not
discern the connection between gas and a woman's charms (the term
seems to
be applied only to women, but that may perhaps be only because all the
writers are men). I have formed two theories.
Theory 1: The Brits are sexually aroused by flatulent women.
[silly speculation snipped]
Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
Theory 2: The term is derived from "pneumatic tires",
[somewhat less silly speculation snipped]

The SOED5 meaning 1B under the adjectival use is
"Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a woman with a well-rounded
figure, esp. a large bosom. joc. E20."

I believe this is related more to a phrase I heard occasionally from men
of my father's generation: "she has nice lungs."
Don Phillipson
2007-04-15 19:31:27 UTC
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Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
In 'Brave New World", Huxley uses the word "pneumatic" in a clearly
erotic sense, but his meaning is a mystery to me.
Americans should read zaftig (as in S.J. Perelman.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Lars Eighner
2007-04-15 20:34:09 UTC
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This is a question that has puzzled me for more than 30 years, and, as I
am now of an age when one wants to begin crossing things off of one's "to-
do" list, it is time for me to get this question answered.
Big tits.
--
Lars Eighner <http://larseighner.com/> <http://myspace.com/larseighner>
Countdown: 645 days to go.
Reject the Works of Satin!
I am a radical Muslin. Please read my blog.
bert
2007-04-16 10:24:30 UTC
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Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
This is a question that has puzzled me for more than 30 years,
and, as I am now of an age when one wants to begin crossing
things off of one's "to-do" list, it is time for me to get
this question answered.
In 'Brave New World", Huxley uses the word "pneumatic" in
a clearly erotic sense, but his meaning is a mystery to me.
< examples and hypotheses snipped >

I've always interpreted it as implying a sort of inflated look,
so not just large breasts, but dramatically hemispherical ones
rather than conical ones.
--
Hatunen
2007-04-16 21:12:54 UTC
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Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
This is a question that has puzzled me for more than 30 years, and, as
I am
now of an age when one wants to begin crossing things off of one's "to-
do"
list, it is time for me to get this question answered.
In 'Brave New World", Huxley uses the word "pneumatic" in a clearly
erotic
sense, but his meaning is a mystery to me. From Chapter 3 of Brave
New
"Oh, she's a splendid girl. Wonderfully pneumatic."
I've always taken it to mean the same as Yiddish "zaftig".
--
************* DAVE HATUNEN (***@cox.net) *************
* Tucson Arizona, out where the cacti grow *
* My typos & mispellings are intentional copyright traps *
Joe Fineman
2007-04-18 04:30:56 UTC
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Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
Theory 2: The term is derived from "pneumatic tires", which were
perhaps recent novelties during the time that Huxley and Eliot were
writing, and, by extension, describes a firm but yielding tactile
sensation which is characteristic of pneumatic tires, and is
considered to be a desirable quality in the feel of a woman's
breasts.
The problem with this theory is that a woman's breasts do not feel
like pneumatic tires (it is well known that they feel more like two
bags of sand).
IMO, in my small acquaintance, they feel neither like pneumatic tires
(or pneumatic anything else) nor (indeed, even less) like bags of
sand. Something is pneumatic if it displays & exploits the
compressibility of enclosed gas. Breasts are elastic, but not
sensibly compressible. Bags of sand are not elastic even in shear;
they pretty much stay in the shape you put them in.

Perhaps, however, "pneumatic" as a metaphor is sufficient in merely
suggesting elasticity. After all (I understand), there are
commercially available inflatable dolls for sexual purposes, so they
must satisfy some customers.
--
--- Joe Fineman ***@verizon.net

||: What is fascinating in a mirror? A world I am not at the :||
||: center of. :||
Al in Dallas
2007-04-19 05:26:25 UTC
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Post by Joe Fineman
Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
Theory 2: The term is derived from "pneumatic tires", which were
perhaps recent novelties during the time that Huxley and Eliot were
writing, and, by extension, describes a firm but yielding tactile
sensation which is characteristic of pneumatic tires, and is
considered to be a desirable quality in the feel of a woman's
breasts.
The problem with this theory is that a woman's breasts do not feel
like pneumatic tires (it is well known that they feel more like two
bags of sand).
IMO, in my small acquaintance, they feel neither like pneumatic tires
(or pneumatic anything else) nor (indeed, even less) like bags of
sand. Something is pneumatic if it displays & exploits the
compressibility of enclosed gas. Breasts are elastic, but not
sensibly compressible. Bags of sand are not elastic even in shear;
they pretty much stay in the shape you put them in.
Perhaps, however, "pneumatic" as a metaphor is sufficient in merely
suggesting elasticity. After all (I understand), there are
commercially available inflatable dolls for sexual purposes, so they
must satisfy some customers.
I saw an HBO special that claimed that the things could cost thousands
of dollars *and* that models were sold for women to buy. What a
strange way to spend $10,000!
--
Al in St. Lou
J. J. Lodder
2007-06-01 20:13:27 UTC
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Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
This is a question that has puzzled me for more than 30 years, and, as
I am
now of an age when one wants to begin crossing things off of one's "to-
do"
list, it is time for me to get this question answered.
In 'Brave New World", Huxley uses the word "pneumatic" in a clearly
erotic
sense, but his meaning is a mystery to me.
I asked the same question in this forum five years ago.
It did not result in any elucidation.

===
Newsgroups: alt.usage.english
Subject: Are girls still pneumatic? (was Re: Brave New World)
From: ***@de-ster.demon.nl (J. J. Lodder)
Reply-To: ***@de-ster.demon.nl
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 23:56:39 +0200
Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
Some years ago, I noticed that the English literature students
in my college class usually objected to Huxley's "Brave
New World" as a bad outcome for humankind, while quite
a few of the engineering students were somewhat approving
of the future there depicted.
Does this have any implications for the new world we are
coming to inhabit?
Are girls still pneumatic, or even very pneumatic,
as they were when the world was brave?

Or have pneumatic girls gone extinct in the meantime?
(except perhaps in engineering students' fantasies?)

Jan
===

My guess is that 'pneumatic' is a Huxley attempt
at inventing future language. It did not catch on.

Best,

Jan
Donna Richoux
2007-06-01 22:44:51 UTC
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Post by J. J. Lodder
Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
In 'Brave New World", Huxley uses the word "pneumatic" in a clearly
erotic
sense, but his meaning is a mystery to me.
I asked the same question in this forum five years ago.
It did not result in any elucidation.
snip more discussion
Post by J. J. Lodder
My guess is that 'pneumatic' is a Huxley attempt
at inventing future language. It did not catch on.
You're responding to a question asked in April, and I posted some uses
of the same "pneumatic" published in 1899 and 1919. Five years ago we
didn't have Google Books; with all its shortcomings, it is capable of
yielding some useful data.
--
Best -- Donna Richoux
Hatunen
2007-06-03 23:17:38 UTC
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Post by Donna Richoux
Post by J. J. Lodder
Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
In 'Brave New World", Huxley uses the word "pneumatic" in a clearly
erotic
sense, but his meaning is a mystery to me.
I asked the same question in this forum five years ago.
It did not result in any elucidation.
snip more discussion
Post by J. J. Lodder
My guess is that 'pneumatic' is a Huxley attempt
at inventing future language. It did not catch on.
You're responding to a question asked in April, and I posted some uses
of the same "pneumatic" published in 1899 and 1919. Five years ago we
didn't have Google Books; with all its shortcomings, it is capable of
yielding some useful data.
And in April I posted my surmise when I first read the book that
Huxley had invented a term to mean what Yiddish means by
"zaftig".
--
************* DAVE HATUNEN (***@cox.net) *************
* Tucson Arizona, out where the cacti grow *
* My typos & mispellings are intentional copyright traps *
Donna Richoux
2007-06-04 10:02:28 UTC
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Post by Hatunen
Post by Donna Richoux
Post by J. J. Lodder
My guess is that 'pneumatic' is a Huxley attempt
at inventing future language. It did not catch on.
You're responding to a question asked in April, and I posted some uses
of the same "pneumatic" published in 1899 and 1919. Five years ago we
didn't have Google Books; with all its shortcomings, it is capable of
yielding some useful data.
And in April I posted my surmise when I first read the book that
Huxley had invented
Which we know now he didn't. Just to be clear.
Post by Hatunen
a term to mean what Yiddish means by "zaftig".
You could say the same about any word meaning "shapely, good-looking,
sexy." I just looked into the history of "zaftig"; apparently the
Yiddish is spelled "zaftik" and the German "saftig," both meaning juicy,
luscious. Zaft/saft equalling juice. Whereas "pneu-" of course refers to
air. I suppose the common element is being full.

It would be tricky to find out exactly what technical use inspired this
use of "pneumatic." I see this in Making of America, 1874:

metal converted, cast, or made from iron by the
Bessemer or pneumatic process, of whatever form or
description, shall be classed as steel.

If "pneumatic" was made popular as some highly desirable property of
metal or machinery or the like, it could have been transferred to other
highly admired traits, even separate from the containing-air meaning.
Look at the jokes about "hi-fi" in the 1950s Peanuts cartoons. "How can
a bracelet be hi-fi?"
--
Best -- Donna Richoux
R H Draney
2007-06-04 16:02:31 UTC
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Post by Donna Richoux
If "pneumatic" was made popular as some highly desirable property of
metal or machinery or the like, it could have been transferred to other
highly admired traits, even separate from the containing-air meaning.
Look at the jokes about "hi-fi" in the 1950s Peanuts cartoons. "How can
a bracelet be hi-fi?"
And yet today the office technoholic will proudly show off his "atomic
wristwatch"....r
--
"You got Schadenfreude on my Weltanschauung!"
"You got Weltanschauung in my Schadenfreude!"
J. J. Lodder
2007-06-04 21:27:42 UTC
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Post by R H Draney
Post by Donna Richoux
If "pneumatic" was made popular as some highly desirable property of
metal or machinery or the like, it could have been transferred to other
highly admired traits, even separate from the containing-air meaning.
Look at the jokes about "hi-fi" in the 1950s Peanuts cartoons. "How can
a bracelet be hi-fi?"
And yet today the office technoholic will proudly show off his "atomic
wristwatch"....r
'Radio controlled atomic wrist watch' even,

Jan
J. J. Lodder
2007-06-04 20:59:11 UTC
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Post by Donna Richoux
Post by Hatunen
Post by Donna Richoux
Post by J. J. Lodder
My guess is that 'pneumatic' is a Huxley attempt
at inventing future language. It did not catch on.
You're responding to a question asked in April, and I posted some uses
of the same "pneumatic" published in 1899 and 1919. Five years ago we
didn't have Google Books; with all its shortcomings, it is capable of
yielding some useful data.
And in April I posted my surmise when I first read the book that
Huxley had invented
Which we know now he didn't. Just to be clear.
Post by Hatunen
a term to mean what Yiddish means by "zaftig".
You could say the same about any word meaning "shapely, good-looking,
sexy." I just looked into the history of "zaftig"; apparently the
Yiddish is spelled "zaftik" and the German "saftig," both meaning juicy,
luscious. Zaft/saft equalling juice. Whereas "pneu-" of course refers to
air. I suppose the common element is being full.
It would be tricky to find out exactly what technical use inspired this
metal converted, cast, or made from iron by the
Bessemer or pneumatic process, of whatever form or
description, shall be classed as steel.
That is merely blowing air through molten iron.
Before Mr Bessemer did his thing 'steel' had been expensive,
almost a semi-precious metal.
He made it a bulk commodity.
Huxley seems to have been inspired by the air cushion.
Post by Donna Richoux
If "pneumatic" was made popular as some highly desirable property of
metal or machinery or the like, it could have been transferred to other
highly admired traits, even separate from the containing-air meaning.
Look at the jokes about "hi-fi" in the 1950s Peanuts cartoons. "How can
a bracelet be hi-fi?"
Huxley seems to have had a fascination for things pneumatic.
As in Antic Hay, where Theodore Gumbril hits upon the notion of
designing a type of pneumatic trouser to ease the discomfort of the
sedentary life.

Jan
Hatunen
2007-06-04 21:10:15 UTC
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Post by Donna Richoux
Post by Hatunen
Post by Donna Richoux
Post by J. J. Lodder
My guess is that 'pneumatic' is a Huxley attempt
at inventing future language. It did not catch on.
You're responding to a question asked in April, and I posted some uses
of the same "pneumatic" published in 1899 and 1919. Five years ago we
didn't have Google Books; with all its shortcomings, it is capable of
yielding some useful data.
And in April I posted my surmise when I first read the book that
Huxley had invented
Which we know now he didn't. Just to be clear.
Sorry, I was a bit inexact there: I didn't mean Huxley invented
the term "pneumatic"; it had long been used as the term for
air-inflated tires, which is why the French call tires "pneus". I
meant he invented this particular appliaction of the term.
Post by Donna Richoux
Post by Hatunen
a term to mean what Yiddish means by "zaftig".
You could say the same about any word meaning "shapely, good-looking,
sexy." I just looked into the history of "zaftig"; apparently the
Yiddish is spelled "zaftik" and the German "saftig," both meaning juicy,
luscious. Zaft/saft equalling juice. Whereas "pneu-" of course refers to
air. I suppose the common element is being full.
The online merriam-Webster dictionary has an entry for "zaftig"
which has the same meanings but adds:

"of a woman : having a full rounded figure : pleasingly plump"

"Zaftik" (or whatever spelling variant) refers to a young lady
who is the opposite of what would now be called "hard-body",
someone soft and tempting and a bit large-breasted. Think Sophia
Loren rather than Jane Fonda. Think of the soft curves of an
old-style inner tube.
Post by Donna Richoux
It would be tricky to find out exactly what technical use inspired this
metal converted, cast, or made from iron by the
Bessemer or pneumatic process, of whatever form or
description, shall be classed as steel.
If "pneumatic" was made popular as some highly desirable property of
metal or machinery or the like, it could have been transferred to other
highly admired traits, even separate from the containing-air meaning.
Look at the jokes about "hi-fi" in the 1950s Peanuts cartoons. "How can
a bracelet be hi-fi?"
"Pneumatic" simply refers to air; the steel making process called
the "Bessemer converter" in the USA but invented by a guy named
Kelly uses air blown through molten iron to remove impurities; it
is a pneumatic process.
--
************* DAVE HATUNEN (***@cox.net) *************
* Tucson Arizona, out where the cacti grow *
* My typos & mispellings are intentional copyright traps *
Donna Richoux
2007-06-04 22:20:38 UTC
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[snip 'pneumatic' & Huxley]
Post by Hatunen
Post by Donna Richoux
Post by Hatunen
Post by Donna Richoux
You're responding to a question asked in April, and I posted some uses
of the same "pneumatic" published in 1899 and 1919.
[snip]
Post by Hatunen
Post by Donna Richoux
Post by Hatunen
And in April I posted my surmise when I first read the book that
Huxley had invented
Which we know now he didn't. Just to be clear.
Sorry, I was a bit inexact there: I didn't mean Huxley invented
the term "pneumatic"; it had long been used as the term for
air-inflated tires, which is why the French call tires "pneus". I
meant he invented this particular appliaction of the term.
Again I failed to make myself clear. Huxley did *not* invent this
particular application of the term. The citations of 1899 and 1919 I
referred to are for the female-figure meaning. (I did say "the same".)
Aldous Huxley was born in 1894. He simply used some slang of his day.

This is easily searchable in the Google Groups archives. Sometimes I
don't repeat everything in every post, mostly because I expect people
can make use of those archives. Do you not have access?

[snip]
Post by Hatunen
"Zaftik" (or whatever spelling variant) refers to a young lady
who is the opposite of what would now be called "hard-body",
someone soft and tempting and a bit large-breasted. Think Sophia
Loren rather than Jane Fonda. Think of the soft curves of an
old-style inner tube.
I believe we're agreed that "pneumatic" and "zaftig" are just two words
for the same thing, when applied to women -- luscious, full-figured,
etc. The words got there by two different routes (full of air, full of
liquid).
Post by Hatunen
Post by Donna Richoux
It would be tricky to find out exactly what technical use inspired this
metal converted, cast, or made from iron by the
Bessemer or pneumatic process, of whatever form or
description, shall be classed as steel.
[snip]
Post by Hatunen
"Pneumatic" simply refers to air; the steel making process called
the "Bessemer converter" in the USA but invented by a guy named
Kelly uses air blown through molten iron to remove impurities; it
is a pneumatic process.
Thank for you for the details, but I knew the general idea already. I
was at that point considering how it could have been that people knew
the word "pneumatic" so it could give rise to the catchier meaning. It
was, I gather, applied to various machines and methods in the 19th
century (and other things clear back to 1659) so we don't know which one
it was that was likely to be known by the everyday man.
--
Best -- Donna Richoux
Mike Lyle
2007-06-04 13:51:56 UTC
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Donna Richoux wrote:
[...]
Post by Donna Richoux
It would be tricky to find out exactly what technical use inspired
metal converted, cast, or made from iron by the
Bessemer or pneumatic process, of whatever form or
description, shall be classed as steel.
If "pneumatic" was made popular as some highly desirable property of
metal or machinery or the like, it could have been transferred to
other highly admired traits, even separate from the containing-air
meaning. Look at the jokes about "hi-fi" in the 1950s Peanuts
cartoons. "How can a bracelet be hi-fi?"
I see no difficulty. Inflatable boats and tires have been called
"pneumatic" since the middle of the 19C; in French, of course, one says
simply "pneu" for a motor-tire. Does one need to be male to see a
similarity with a full figure? If by "tricky" you mean it may be hard to
find an early _explanation_ of such an obvious trope, then I can agree
with you.
--
Mike.
--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
Skitt
2007-06-06 02:35:18 UTC
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Post by Mike Lyle
[...]
Post by Donna Richoux
It would be tricky to find out exactly what technical use inspired
metal converted, cast, or made from iron by the
Bessemer or pneumatic process, of whatever form or
description, shall be classed as steel.
If "pneumatic" was made popular as some highly desirable property of
metal or machinery or the like, it could have been transferred to
other highly admired traits, even separate from the containing-air
meaning. Look at the jokes about "hi-fi" in the 1950s Peanuts
cartoons. "How can a bracelet be hi-fi?"
I see no difficulty. Inflatable boats and tires have been called
"pneumatic" since the middle of the 19C; in French, of course, one
says simply "pneu" for a motor-tire. Does one need to be male to see a
similarity with a full figure? If by "tricky" you mean it may be hard
to find an early _explanation_ of such an obvious trope, then I can
agree with you.
The Michelin Man comes to mind.
Loading Image...
--
Skitt
Donna Richoux
2007-06-06 08:22:21 UTC
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Post by Mike Lyle
If by "tricky" you mean it may be hard
to find an early _explanation_ of such an obvious trope, then I can
agree with you.
Yes, that is what I had moved on to -- where was it that people
encountered the term before, why would the average guy on the street
between 1890 and 1920 have the foggiest idea what "pneumatic" meant
(literally).

Or maybe they didn't, maybe it was merely a funny sounding word to many,
like that slang word that came from a disease of horses, epizootic,
wasn't it?

Clearly, if one guy nudges his friend and says "Get a load of her,
pneumatic, ain't she?" the other guy can grasp the intended meaning,
whether or not he knew the word before.
--
Best -- Donna Richoux
Mike Lyle
2007-06-06 13:27:06 UTC
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Post by Donna Richoux
Post by Mike Lyle
If by "tricky" you mean it may be hard
to find an early _explanation_ of such an obvious trope, then I can
agree with you.
Yes, that is what I had moved on to -- where was it that people
encountered the term before, why would the average guy on the street
between 1890 and 1920 have the foggiest idea what "pneumatic" meant
(literally).
Or maybe they didn't, maybe it was merely a funny sounding word to
many, like that slang word that came from a disease of horses,
epizootic, wasn't it?
Clearly, if one guy nudges his friend and says "Get a load of her,
pneumatic, ain't she?" the other guy can grasp the intended meaning,
whether or not he knew the word before.
The average guy on the street would have been perfectly familiar with
pneumatic tires and things well before 1919. OED has "pneumatic boat"
from 1862, and I'm surprised it doesn't have "pneumatic tyre" from
earlier than 1890. I find, interestingly, that the first patent was in
1846 - perhaps Thomson called it something else, which might also help
to explain how Dunlop (who was already selling them) got a patent
through, temporarily, in 1889.
--
Mike.
--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
Evan Kirshenbaum
2007-06-06 15:57:35 UTC
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Post by Donna Richoux
Post by Mike Lyle
If by "tricky" you mean it may be hard
to find an early _explanation_ of such an obvious trope, then I can
agree with you.
Yes, that is what I had moved on to -- where was it that people
encountered the term before, why would the average guy on the street
between 1890 and 1920 have the foggiest idea what "pneumatic" meant
(literally).
Looking at the _New York Times_, it doesn't appear to have been all
that uncommon a word.

... hereafter the Commissioner of Public Works shall serve notice
upon the owners of abutting lots to construct their house
connections with all the underground works in the street, with the
sewers, water, gas, steam, and pneumatic pipes and all the
electric wires, and that in case they neglect to do so and to do
it in a manner satisfactory to the Commissioner, he shall proceed
to do the work himself and to assess the cost of it upon the
property. [1/12/1890]

From this time forward, with the laying out of new batteries and
the mounting, first of pneumatic tubes for dynamite shells and
then of large rifled mortars and eight-inch rifled guns, to be
succeeded in time by heavier calibres, the modern defense of
New-York Harbor will go on steadily. [1/18/1890]

It shows up every few days.

Even the phrase "pneumatic tire" was used without explanation:

The pneumatic tire bicycle scored one victory and met with two
defeats, E.J. Willis and H.E. Laurie riding the wheel. [9/3/1890]

Featherstone Pneumatic Tire .... $135 [ad, 4/17/1891]

... one mile bicycle [race], (safety, with pneumatic tires
excluded.) [2/10/1892]

That's for the entire bicycle, but that's $2,921.42 in 2006 dollars!

So it looks as though the average guy on the street would probably
have been familiar with newfangled pneumatic tires for bicycles from
right around 1890.

"Pneumatic tubes" or "pipes", which first show up in a metaphorical
reference in 1867:

Here we are at last at the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific
Railway [Omaha], and "at the half-way house across the
continent. "The ferry-boat brought us over the Missouri River at
4:30 yesterday afternoon, so that we made the entire trip from
New-Yor, a distance of fourteen hundred miles in sixy-nine hours,
including a stay of three hours in Chicago. ... Talk of shooting
the mails and even passengers through pneumatic tubes like pellets
through pop-guns! Why even that prospective contrivance can
hardly outstrip such speeds as this. [6/7/1867]

were used to carry messages within and between buildings. (And are
still used in some drive-through banks, at least around Chicago.)
According to an article that September, a 600 yard "pneumatic
railroad" was actually constructed in 1864 in London (at the Crystal
Palace) and there was apparently serious talk of installing a
pneumatic subway in New York in the 1860s.
--
Evan Kirshenbaum +------------------------------------
HP Laboratories |Other computer companies have spent
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 |15 years working on fault-tolerant
Palo Alto, CA 94304 |computers. Microsoft has spent
|its time more fruitfully, working
***@hpl.hp.com |on fault-tolerant *users*.
(650)857-7572

http://www.kirshenbaum.net/
Mike Lyle
2007-06-06 18:23:15 UTC
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Evan Kirshenbaum wrote:
[...]
According to an article that September [1867, NYT], a 600 yard
"pneumatic
railroad" was actually constructed in 1864 in London (at the Crystal
Palace) and there was apparently serious talk of installing a
pneumatic subway in New York in the 1860s.
They were also called "atmospheric railways", and I think there was one
in South Wales. They were too inefficient to catch on because of
pressure losses through, I think, the leather seals then available.
(And, of course, because locomotives kept getting lighter.)
Interestingly, OED recognises both terms, but offers a quotation (1839)
only for "pneumatic railway". The idea died hard, though: an 1870
Channel Tunnel proposal included a pneumatic railway.
--
Mike.
--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
Mark Brader
2007-06-07 00:10:34 UTC
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Post by Mike Lyle
Post by Evan Kirshenbaum
"Pneumatic tubes" or "pipes", which first show up in a metaphorical
reference in 1867 ...
were used to carry messages within and between buildings. (And are
still used in some drive-through banks, at least around Chicago.)
According to an article that September, a 600 yard "pneumatic
railroad" was actually constructed in 1864 in London (at the Crystal
Palace) and there was apparently serious talk of installing a
pneumatic subway in New York in the 1860s.
They were also called "atmospheric railways", and I think there was one
in South Wales.
It was indeed in GWR territory (and its route is still in mainline use
today lines, which is still in use), but not that part. South Devon
(England), not South Wales.
Post by Mike Lyle
They were too inefficient to catch on because of
pressure losses through, I think, the leather seals then available.
(And, of course, because locomotives kept getting lighter.) ...
Evan and Mike are referring to two different pneumatic technologies,
sometimes distinguished as pneumatic and atmospheric railways
respectively, but often either word was used for both. See my
article at <http://www.davros.org/rail/atmospheric.html>.

My article contains one significant error: Beach was not working
without legal permission as I said, but only claimed afterwards (for
political reasons) to have been doing so. For the full story see
the opening chapters of Joe Brennan's book-length web publication
<http://www.columbia.edu/~brennan/beach/>.
--
Mark Brader "Sixty years old and still pulling a train!
Toronto That's more than I can say about most
***@vex.net people I know." -- Frimbo

My text in this article is in the public domain.
Shani
2007-06-08 03:04:51 UTC
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Post by Evan Kirshenbaum
Post by Donna Richoux
Yes, that is what I had moved on to -- where was it that people
encountered the term before, why would the average guy on the street
between 1890 and 1920 have the foggiest idea what "pneumatic" meant
(literally).
Looking at the _New York Times_, it doesn't appear to have been all
that uncommon a word.
But it was a technical word, hence the weirdness of having it used to
described live flesh (even flesh technically enhanced by geneticsor
embryo manipulation). Though it must have been at least heard of by
the average guy, because the sciences and technological advances were
very popular during the dawn of the industrial era (and they still
are, they're a worse drug to the masses than any religion) and
everybody wanted to know what the new gadget did and have it if
useful.
Maybe that was the point Huxley was trying to make, the connection
between man and machine growing. Even if he had known at the time that
women would pay doctors to put fake breasts in them in the so-near
future or that inflatable dolls would actually be fabricated and sold,
he couldn't have found a better word to say it.

Well I think if you combine this with my previous post, it starts to
make sense, doesn't it?
Hope it helped.
Cha
Evan Kirshenbaum
2007-06-08 14:51:13 UTC
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Post by Shani
Post by Evan Kirshenbaum
Post by Donna Richoux
Yes, that is what I had moved on to -- where was it that people
encountered the term before, why would the average guy on the
street between 1890 and 1920 have the foggiest idea what
"pneumatic" meant (literally).
Looking at the _New York Times_, it doesn't appear to have been all
that uncommon a word.
But it was a technical word, hence the weirdness of having it used
to described live flesh (even flesh technically enhanced by
geneticsor embryo manipulation). Though it must have been at least
heard of by the average guy, because the sciences and technological
advances were very popular during the dawn of the industrial era
(and they still are, they're a worse drug to the masses than any
religion) and everybody wanted to know what the new gadget did and
have it if useful.
I don't think it would have been weird at all by the turn of the
century. Bicycles were becoming common, and most people would
probably have been been familiar with the difference between the
old-fashioned flat wheels and the new-fangled "pneumatic" tires. And
what was the difference? The pneumatic ones were puffed up and
rounded.

By 1891, "pneumatic tire" was used in a bicycle ad aimed at consumers
without any apparent need to explain what they were or why they were
desirable, so people must have been aware of them. After that's right
after they came out. They were obviously a big enough improvement
that word spread fast.

The average person might not have understood the etymology of the word
and might not have known why the tires connected with the pneumatic
tubes that banks used, the pneumatic guns that were defending the
harbor, the pneumatic subway being talked about in the papers, or the
pneumatic drills being used to dig tunnels (although that might've
been a little later), but they would have understood what "pneumatic"
meant when it came to tires: big and puffy.
--
Evan Kirshenbaum +------------------------------------
HP Laboratories |When you're ready to break a rule,
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 |you _know_ that you're ready; you
Palo Alto, CA 94304 |don't need anyone else to tell
|you. (If you're not that certain,
***@hpl.hp.com |then you're _not_ ready.)
(650)857-7572 | Tom Phoenix

http://www.kirshenbaum.net/
Robert Bannister
2007-06-07 00:37:05 UTC
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Post by Donna Richoux
Post by Mike Lyle
If by "tricky" you mean it may be hard
to find an early _explanation_ of such an obvious trope, then I can
agree with you.
Yes, that is what I had moved on to -- where was it that people
encountered the term before, why would the average guy on the street
between 1890 and 1920 have the foggiest idea what "pneumatic" meant
(literally).
They might have heard of pneumonia.
--
Rob Bannister
Paul Wolff
2007-06-07 21:13:49 UTC
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Post by Robert Bannister
Post by Donna Richoux
Post by Mike Lyle
If by "tricky" you mean it may be hard
to find an early _explanation_ of such an obvious trope, then I can
agree with you.
Yes, that is what I had moved on to -- where was it that people
encountered the term before, why would the average guy on the street
between 1890 and 1920 have the foggiest idea what "pneumatic" meant
(literally).
They might have heard of pneumonia.
And to state the obvious, in case someone can still miss it, we get back
to admiring a nice pair of lungs. Though I'd prefer 'pneumonious' over
'pneumatic', as porting harmony into the manteau and eliminating the
Devizes effect.
--
Paul
In bocca al Lupo!
Alec Kojaev
2007-06-08 06:38:57 UTC
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On Wed, 06 Jun 2007 10:22:21 +0200 in
Post by Donna Richoux
Post by Mike Lyle
If by "tricky" you mean it may be hard
to find an early _explanation_ of such an obvious trope, then I can
agree with you.
Yes, that is what I had moved on to -- where was it that people
encountered the term before, why would the average guy on the street
between 1890 and 1920 have the foggiest idea what "pneumatic" meant
(literally).
Skimming over Google Books, I see following usage from _The British
Journal Of Photography_, dated (as a magazine) 1856. Doesn't look like XIX
century text, actually, but it might be relevant as to the origin of
"pneumatic" in "pneumatic girl":

We've included, as we always do in
these advertisements, a girl. She's
included purely as a decoration. There
is no rubber whatsoever used in her
construction, in fact she was pneu-
matic enough without any rubber.

Most other uses of "pneumatic" pre-1900 are spiritual ("pneumatic
sect", "pneumatic doctrine"), anatomical ("pneumatic bones"), medical
("mastoid process is pneumatic"), physical ("pneumatic bodies", Bacon's
_New Organon_), engineering ("pneumatic trough/mail/railway").
--
Alec Kojaev
St.Petersburg, Russia [30E18 59N56]
J. J. Lodder
2007-06-06 10:24:26 UTC
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Post by Skitt
Post by Mike Lyle
[...]
Post by Donna Richoux
It would be tricky to find out exactly what technical use inspired
metal converted, cast, or made from iron by the
Bessemer or pneumatic process, of whatever form or
description, shall be classed as steel.
If "pneumatic" was made popular as some highly desirable property of
metal or machinery or the like, it could have been transferred to
other highly admired traits, even separate from the containing-air
meaning. Look at the jokes about "hi-fi" in the 1950s Peanuts
cartoons. "How can a bracelet be hi-fi?"
I see no difficulty. Inflatable boats and tires have been called
"pneumatic" since the middle of the 19C; in French, of course, one
says simply "pneu" for a motor-tire. Does one need to be male to see a
similarity with a full figure? If by "tricky" you mean it may be hard
to find an early _explanation_ of such an obvious trope, then I can
agree with you.
The Michelin Man comes to mind.
http://www.automotiveblogger.net/wp-content/uploads/2006/10/michelin-man.JPG
That's the new restyled Michelin Man.

The original Michelin Man (the one that Huxley would have known about)
was glutinous, fat, and ugly. See
<http://prophetesetnainsdejardin.over-blog.com/categorie-464942.html>
for example. (scan down)

Hardly a sex symbol,

Jan
Shani
2007-06-08 02:47:50 UTC
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The Michelin Man comes to mind.http://www.automotiveblogger.net/wp-content/uploads/2006/10/michelin-...
--
Skitt
I agree, when I read the book I just thought it meant she was
comfortable to be with for sex, like a pneumatic matress, firm but a
bit squishable too. I didn't think it was the breasts in particular,
more that she was girund and soft all over. Weren't they selecting the
women to be attractive like the Venus of Willendorf (maybe a bit less
fat, but that's the spirit : womanhood in shape) in the book? Kind of
like they're trying to do by putting inflatable, saline or silicone
implants on women now, except I don't think there is such a thing as
upper-arms, hips, thighs and tummy implants (yet) (but they do have
bottom cheeks implants though, yeaark).
Funny to see how aesthetics change, now the top models are starving,
bony and unarsed figures, but not so long ago they were fatty full
women with buttocks, hips, breasts and all (I mean like Ruben painted
his ideal women).
Anyway that's how I saw what Huxley meant : comfortable and enjoying
to touch (Jay, how can you have said breasts were like bags of sand???
After 30 years, it's scary. They ARE compressible, much UNlike bags of
sand! ).
Maybe Huxley was just talking about the breasts, I can't know for
sure.
Cha
Amethyst Deceiver
2007-06-04 14:54:25 UTC
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Post by J. J. Lodder
Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
This is a question that has puzzled me for more than 30 years, and,
as I am
now of an age when one wants to begin crossing things off of one's
"to- do"
list, it is time for me to get this question answered.
In 'Brave New World", Huxley uses the word "pneumatic" in a clearly
erotic
sense, but his meaning is a mystery to me.
I asked the same question in this forum five years ago.
It did not result in any elucidation.
OED gives this:

e. humorous. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a woman with a
well-rounded figure, esp. a large bosom; (of a woman) having a well-rounded
figure, esp. large-bosomed.
1919 T. S. ELIOT Whispers of Immortality in Poems, Grishkin is nice...
Uncorseted, her friendly bust Gives promise of pneumatic bliss. 1932 A.
HUXLEY Brave New World vi. 108 ‘Every one says I'm awfully pneumatic,’ said
Lenina reflectively, patting her own legs... ‘You don't think I'm too plump,
do you?’ 1976 Times Lit. Suppl. 31 Dec. 1643/2 The pneumatic barmaid at
their favourite wine-bar. 1994 Sunday Times 6 Mar. (Mag. section) X. 26/1
Making her film debut in 1981 as a pneumatic Texan temp in the office comedy
Nine To Five, Dolly Parton was an instant success.
Nick Atty
2007-06-08 06:23:26 UTC
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On Mon, 4 Jun 2007 15:54:25 +0100, "Amethyst Deceiver"
Post by Amethyst Deceiver
Post by J. J. Lodder
Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
This is a question that has puzzled me for more than 30 years, and,
as I am
now of an age when one wants to begin crossing things off of one's
"to- do"
list, it is time for me to get this question answered.
In 'Brave New World", Huxley uses the word "pneumatic" in a clearly
erotic
sense, but his meaning is a mystery to me.
I asked the same question in this forum five years ago.
It did not result in any elucidation.
e. humorous. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a woman with a
well-rounded figure, esp. a large bosom; (of a woman) having a well-rounded
figure, esp. large-bosomed.
1919 T. S. ELIOT Whispers of Immortality in Poems, Grishkin is nice...
Uncorseted, her friendly bust Gives promise of pneumatic bliss. 1932 A.
HUXLEY Brave New World vi. 108 ‘Every one says I'm awfully pneumatic,’ said
Lenina reflectively, patting her own legs... ‘You don't think I'm too plump,
do you?’ 1976 Times Lit. Suppl. 31 Dec. 1643/2 The pneumatic barmaid at
their favourite wine-bar. 1994 Sunday Times 6 Mar. (Mag. section) X. 26/1
Making her film debut in 1981 as a pneumatic Texan temp in the office comedy
Nine To Five, Dolly Parton was an instant success.
Here's an interesting one that I came across reading last night. It's
clearly descriptive of form, but also clearly non-erotic in intent.

A character is describing a sculpture of a nude:
"A nice fat girl sitting with one leg tucked under her looking stonily
at a flower... A very fat girl. Significant fat, you know, in rolls
and unseemly bulges. Pneumatic cheeks and no forehead. A girl, in
fact, with no personal appeal except to a masseur. And so naked."

It fits the OED description nicely, and is more data that it was in
general use before Brave New World - it's from Eric Linklater's "Poet's
Pub", published in 1929.
--
On-line canal route planner: http://www.canalplan.org.uk

(Waterways World site of the month, April 2001)
My Reply-To address *is* valid, though likely to die soon
Evan Kirshenbaum
2007-06-08 15:33:02 UTC
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Post by Nick Atty
Here's an interesting one that I came across reading last night. It's
clearly descriptive of form, but also clearly non-erotic in intent.
A character is describing a sculpture of a nude: "A nice fat girl
sitting with one leg tucked under her looking stonily at a
flower... A very fat girl. Significant fat, you know, in rolls and
unseemly bulges. Pneumatic cheeks and no forehead. A girl, in
fact, with no personal appeal except to a masseur. And so naked."
It fits the OED description nicely, and is more data that it was in
general use before Brave New World - it's from Eric Linklater's
"Poet's Pub", published in 1929.
Looking at Google Books, we can push it back before the turn of the
century:

(Here she pressed a dry eye with a finger-tip, and caused her
pneumatic bosom to lift itself in a sigh.)

Alan Dale, _His Own Image_, 1899

As more evidence for how familiar the average person would be with the
word in a literal sense, I can offer:

Charlie wanted to come on his Pneumatic, but this we would not
allow.

Norman Gale, _A June Romance_, 1894

There was something very comforting in the track of _her_
pneumatic running straight and steady along the road before him.
It must be hers. No other pneumatic had been along the road that
morning.

H.G. Wells, _The Wheels of Chance_, 1896

Ah! From _Cornell & Shober's Directory of Trained Nurses_ (1900), I
see an ad with an accompanying picture of a woman inflating a
hips-to-neck figure (resting on a table) with a bicycle pump. The
text reads:

Mrs. A. Burdette Smith's

YOUR EXACT -
PNEUMATIC FORM

A Reproduction of Your Figure.
Patented 1895.

THE PNEUMATIC FORM is not a Dummy. By inflating, it reproduces a
woman's exact size and shape, so that a dress or garment fitted
upon it will fit her--therefore, saving her time and strength.

Send us a perfect-fitting lining, and we will send your mould.

So a "pneumatic form" *was* an inflated female torso. Of course, I
don't know how common such things ever became, but I see a 1912 _LA
Times_ ad claiming "We have a great many second-hand adjustable,
non-adjustable and pneumatic forms on hand for sale half price", so
they must not have disappeared without anybody noticing them.
--
Evan Kirshenbaum +------------------------------------
HP Laboratories |Giving money and power to government
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 |is like giving whiskey and car keys
Palo Alto, CA 94304 |to teenage boys.
| P.J. O'Rourke
***@hpl.hp.com
(650)857-7572

http://www.kirshenbaum.net/
UC
2007-06-01 20:52:09 UTC
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Post by j***@m5.chi.il.us
This is a question that has puzzled me for more than 30 years, and, as
I am
now of an age when one wants to begin crossing things off of one's "to-
do"
list, it is time for me to get this question answered.
In 'Brave New World", Huxley uses the word "pneumatic" in a clearly
erotic
sense, but his meaning is a mystery to me. From Chapter 3 of Brave
New
"Oh, she's a splendid girl. Wonderfully pneumatic."
But she was really too pneumatic. Whereas Fifi and Joanna were
absolutely right. Plump, blonde, not too large...
"I think she had yellow hair. Anyhow she was pneumatic,
particularly pneumatic;"
and so throughout the entire book.
This usage is not idiosyncratic to Huxley. From T. S. Eliot's poem,
Grishkin is nice; her Russian eye
Is underlined for emphasis;
Uncorseted, her friendly bust
Gives promise of pneumatic bliss.
where the erotic meaning is even clearer than in Huxley.
According to the dictionary definition, "pneumatic" means having to do
with
air, or gas. E.g., a pneumatic drill, or pneumatic tires. I do not
discern the connection between gas and a woman's charms (the term
seems to
be applied only to women, but that may perhaps be only because all the
writers are men). I have formed two theories.
Theory 1: The Brits are sexually aroused by flatulent women.
The problem with this theory is that it implies that the Brits are
different from you and me. I have always believed, and so far my
belief
has not been disconfirmed by experience, that people are pretty much
the
same all over the world. I know about James Joyce and Nora, but I
always
figured that Joyce was a pervert, and not characteristic of Brits in
general (besides, Joyce was an Irishman, not a Brit, and if he left
Ireland and never returned to it that was only in order better to be
able
to forge in the smithy of his soul the uncreated conscience of his
race).
Now, it could be that Huxley and Eliot were also abnormal, and in
the
same way that Joyce was, but the flaw in this hypothesis is that
they use
the word "pneumatic" expecting their readers to know what they are
talking about and to sympathize with it, whereas, even if Huxley and
Eliot were both statistical outliers, which is conceivable, they
would
nonetheless know that they were statistical outliers, and not expect
their readers to share the same tastes.
Theory 2: The term is derived from "pneumatic tires", which were
perhaps
recent novelties during the time that Huxley and Eliot were writing,
and,
by extension, describes a firm but yielding tactile sensation which
is
characteristic of pneumatic tires, and is considered to be a
desirable
quality in the feel of a woman's breasts.
The problem with this theory is that a woman's breasts do not feel
like
pneumatic tires (it is well known that they feel more like two bags
of
sand). Perhaps, it may be argued, this sensation may be obtained
only
from the healthiest, fittest, and most desirable of women, and
consequently many men have never experienced it. However, I have
held
pneumatic tires in my hand, and the sensation has brought me no
erotic
pleasure. And there is a sound epidemiological basis for my belief
that
these tastes are typical of my sex -- because if pneumatic tires
felt
good to most (or even many) men, you would see men employing them
for
erotic purposes, and you do not.
Both these theories, then, have flaws which render them implausible,
and I
am left with an unanswered question: What is the erotic meaning of
"pneumatic" in Huxley and Eliot? If you prefor to answer me directly,
and
not post a message of limited interest to the entire discussion group,
you
may contact me using any of the means indicated below. I thank you in
advance for your replies.
Jay F. Shachter
6424 North Whipple Street
Chicago IL 60645-4111
United States
(1-773) 7613784
us)
"Main Entry:1pneumatic
Pronunciation:n(y)**mad.ik, -atik, -*k sometimes n**m-
Function:adjective
Etymology:Latin pneumaticus, from Greek pneumatikos, from pneumat-,
pneuma wind, air, breath, spirit (from pnein to breathe) + -ikos -ic;
akin to Old English fn*osan to sneeze * more at SNEEZE

1 a : of, relating to, or using air, wind, or other gas:(1) : moved or
worked by air pressure either by a percussive action or by a rotary
action *pneumatic chisel* *pneumatic drill*(2) : adapted for holding
compressed air : inflated with air *pneumatic tire* b : of or
relating to pneumatics
2 : of or relating to the pneuma; especially : SPIRITUAL
3 : marked by or having cavities filled with air *pneumatic system of
the pelican E.A.Armstrong*
4 : having a well proportioned feminine figure; especially : having
a full bust"
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