Since the World, of late, has run into ſo many whimſical Projects, prithee, for once, publiſh the following, to ſee how they will encourage a good one.
The Projector, by long Study, has attained to a certain Method, of melting down Carpenters Chips and Saw-Duſt, &c. and running them into Planks and Boards of all Lengths and Sizes. Hereby all Gentlemen, Builders and others, may, upon ten Days Notice, be furniſhed with Boards and Planks adapted exactly to the Dimenſions they want, at leaſt twenty five per Cent. cheaper than yet has been known.
Theſe Boards will be free from Knots and Sap, and delivered grained or not grained, as ſhall be desired. The Projector promiſes himſelf, that he ſhall ſhortly be able to give them a Tincture of Marble Shade, or any other fine Stone Colour, which ſhall exceed all Painting. The Compoſition in theſe Boards has a ſecret Vertue which prevents their ſhrinking, and deſtroys all Bugs and Vermine that come near them.
Propoſals for erecting a Company, and raiſing a Joint-Stock of One Million five hundred thousand Pounds, on very advantageous Terms to the Subſcribers, will ſhortly be publiſhed, and the Projector will be glad (in the interim) of an Opportunity to confer with any Gentleman of Ingenuity upon so beneficial a Scheme; and, for that Purpoſe will give daily Attendance at Exchange time, at the Cock in Birchin-lane.
Mist’s Journal – February 27, 1720
This letter was written by Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe (1719). If it was not obvious last week, the description of this imaginary joint-stock company, which was the source of Thomas Coliflower’s joke, was meant to be satire. It is meant to draw attention to the gullibility of the public, who were investing large sums of money in concepts that were too good to be true, leading to one of the first great stock market crashes, known as the South Sea Bubble.