A farm near Amesbury, in Wiltshire, UK, hosted a particularly unusual contest in 1883. Two men battled it out to decide who could work better- a laborer who had been drinking beer, or a laborer who only had water. Mr. W. F. Terrill, a farmer from Wiltshire, drank beer and harvested corn, while Mr. J. Abbey of the Church of England Temperance Society did the same while drinking only water.
From the very start in the contest, Mr. Terrill assumed the lead. At four o’clock, he had cleared 15a. 3r. 16p. [acres, roods, and perches], and Mr. Abbey had cleared 14a. 3r. 0p. Therefore at that time Mr. Terrill was about one acre ahead. A short cessation of work took place. Mr Terrill, it was stated, was “annointed” by his friends, the “ointment” consisting of whisky. But this is denied. However, he worked well after the pause.
After four o’clock, Mr. Abbey gained steadily, continuing to so so to the finish, when he was only 3r. 21p. behind, having gained something like an acre in about three hours and a quarter. The quantity pitched by Mr Terrill was 29a. 2r. 7p., and that of Mr. Abbey 19a. 2r. 26p. It is stated that a man who clears 12 or 13 acres in a day is considered have done a good day’s work. After the contest, Mr. Terrill and Mr. Abbey shook hands in a most cordial manner, and each proposed cheers for the other.
You might guess that the real winner of the competition was Mr. George Melsome, the owner of the farm, who cleared 48 acres with free labor. But the question of the benefits of beer vs. water was far from settled, once you look into the background of the contest and the men who took part. Read the whole story of the competition at Singular Discoveries. -via Strange Company
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