Your RDA of Irony

The Eyetooth of the Needle

Churchill’s choppers sold at auction in England


LONDON — A partial set of dentures used by former British leader Winston Churchill — described as the teeth that saved the world — sold at auction Thursday for 15,200 pounds ($23,723.)

The upper dentures, one of several sets specially made for the wartime prime minister, were used to maintain his distinctively slurred speaking style. They were bought by a British collector of Churchill memorabilia at an auction in England at three times the estimated price.

The set of dentures were unique because they were designed to be loose-fitting so that Churchill could preserve the diction famous from World War II-era radio broadcasts, experts said.

“From childhood, Churchill had a very distinctive natural lisp; he had trouble with his S’s,” said Jane Hughes, who is head of learning at London’s Hunterian Museum. “These are the teeth that saved the world.”

The medical museum displays a duplicate set of Churchill’s dentures in a glass cabinet alongside other famous teeth — including dentures worn by Queen Caroline, the estranged wife of King George IV.

“He wanted to maintain (the lisp) because he was already so well known for it,” she said. “The dentures wouldn’t quite connect with the top of the mouth, but that was on purpose.”

The dentures were made by dental technician Derek Cudlipp, who produced three or four identical sets for Churchill. One set is believed be have been buried with the leader. The set at auction was sold by the son of Cudlipp.

The false teeth were made just around the start of the war, when Churchill would have been about 65, Hughes said.

The politician is famous for his rousing speeches to the British nation during the war, but his dental issues have been less well known. Hughes said Churchill had many problems with his teeth as a child and probably lost some of them quite early. The leader valued so highly the skill of his dentist, Wilfred Fish, that he nominated him for a knighthood.

Thought one
How is this for a spy thriller?  Germany’s top agent plots to steal Churchill’s dentures.  Ralph Fiennes, playing Otto Panzer, seduces Mrs. Churchill (Judy Dench).  He deliberately plans the tryst when the Prime Minister (Daniel Radcliffe–the teen focus group demanded it)  is about to arrive home.  Panzer hides under the bed waiting for Mr. Churchill to go to sleep.  (This scene would also provide great product placement for Viagra.  “When the moment is ready, but her husband shows up, you can hide under the bed or in the laundry hamp for up to 40 hours.“)   Panzer finds the dentures in a brandy class, smuggles them out of England, and then waits for Britain to surrender.  But the next day, Churchill delivers “the finest hour” speech.  The Prime Minister had a spare set of dentures, hidden in the mouth of his bulldog Victory. 
Thought two:
How many politicians and corporate chairmen will now insist that their dentures be loosened?
  1. Rafferty Barnes says:

    If you’re ever in Baltimore, you should visit the National Museum of Dentistry. We have George Washington’s teeth!

    • Eugene Finerman says:

      Hello Megan.

      You’d think that a man with such notorious teeth would have been more loyal to England.


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