where "wet blanket" came from
There used to be a Detroit Free Press columnist named Bob Talbert that wrote a regular feature called ‘things I learned looking up other things’. This is one of those things.
I’ve heard the phrase ‘wet blanket’ used to describe a person that spoils the fun all of my life. I stumbled across its origin the other day while looking for facts to backup another old story.
The subject has to do with the change from gas lighting to electrical lighting in the theater. I’m trying to find references to the belief that todays stage lighting is hung on 1 ½” gas pipe (schedule 40) because it was hung on the gas pipes when the gas systems were changed out. I haven’t found it yet but I do remember that I read it more than once.
I stumbled across the reference to a ‘wet blanket’ in a couple of places on the web. It appears that London required buckets placed about the stage with wet blankets in them to put out fires and especially performers that accidently set their costumes on fire.
So a ‘wet blanket’ snuffs out the excitement. Because theater is what theater is, the saying is applied in as many creative ways as it can be.