A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry forthcoming—B.P. (3/24)
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Entry from June 08, 2013
“Minds are like parachutes—they only function when open”

"Minds are like parachutes—they only function when open” is a saying that has been printed on many gift items, such as posters and bumper stickers. The saying is often credited to Thomas Robert “Tommy” Dewar, 1st Baron Dewar (1864-1930), who said in 1928, “"I have an open mind. Minds are like parachutes — they function only when they are open.”

“Minds are like parachutes: They function only when they are open.—Louisville Times” was printed in The Standard Examiner (Ogden City, UT) on October 20, 1927 and reprinted in many other newspapers as well. No author is stated, but simply the Louisville (KY) Times; had Dewar been quoted by the Louisville Times in 1927, it’s probable that this would have been mentioned. The authorship of the saying is unknown. The early citations are “function only when they are open” and later citations are “only function when they are open.”


Wikipedia: Thomas Dewar, 1st Baron Dewar
Thomas Robert “Tommy” Dewar, 1st Baron Dewar (6 January 1864 – 11 April 1930) was a Scottish whisky distiller who, along with his brother John Dewar, built their family label, Dewar’s, into an international success. They blended their whisky to make it more appealing to the international palate and Dewar demonstrated particular skills in marketing, travelling the world to find new markets and promote his product, exploiting romantic images of Scotland and tartan in his advertising.

20 October 1927, The Standard Examiner (Ogden City, UT), pg. 14, col. 6
Minds are like parachutes: They function only when they are open.—Louisville Times.

11 November 1927, Hemet (CA) News, pg. 6, col. 4:
Louisville Times:—Minds are like parachutes: They function only when they are open.

Google News Archive
7 April 1928, The Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT), sec. 3, pg. 9, col. 1:
Peer Expert at
Business, Novice
As Spiritualist
Admits it Himself, at Seance, But Says the Mind, Like a Parachute, Must be Open in Order to Function.

LONDON—(US)—Lord Dewar as a business man is an expert. As a spiritualist, he is a rank amateur!

The famous Scots bachelor peer admitted as much as this himself when he appeared recently at a spiritualist meeting at Queen’s hall here. Lord Dewar occupied a seat on the platform among the most notable of England’s spiritualists. He even gave a short speech, explaining the reason for his presence.

Said the Scottish peer:

“I have an open mind. Minds are like parachutes — they function only when they are open. I believe in collecting information on every important topic and verifying it. This is why I am here tonight—in thespirit of inquiry.”

Google Books
Speaker’s Handbook of Epigrams and Witticisms
By Herbert V. Prochnow
New York, NY: Harper
1955
Pg. 195:
Minds are like parachutes: they only function when open.
Thomas Dewar

OCLC WorldCat record
Minds are like parachutes : they only function when they are open.
Author: D A Saville
Dissertation: Thesis (M.Ed.) - University of Sheffield, Division of Education. (1988—ed.)
Edition/Format: Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript Archival Material : English

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Saturday, June 08, 2013 • Permalink