Why the name “Bankia”?

Like Brunel, the Spanish political class profited from study of the behaviour of the shipworm.

Bankia-oid as divine nemesis in an 18th Dutch religious tract.

Bankia-oid as divine nemesis in an 18th Dutch religious tract. Image: J.A. Mobachius.

Over at FT we figured that they either stole the name from a Norwegian bank acquired by Santander or borrowed it from a genus of shipworms, molluscs which hole hulls. The former would coincide nicely with the generally cavalier Spanish attitude towards intellectual property, but the latter would have been a happy serendipity indeed. Here from Phrenological Journal in 1870 is a description of how the monster consumes to the right and to the left and ensures omertà:

Some of the best discoveries and happiest experiments in the various branches of science have been made by chance. Watts, the engineer, took the lobster’s tail for his model, when he was constructing pipes to convey water to Glasgow from the opposite side of the Clyde. Brunel, who constructed the tunnel under the Thames, took his first idea from the ship-worm, as he observed it perforate, with its well-armed head, first in one direction and then in another, till the arched way was complete, and then daub over the roof and sides with a kind of varnish. The art of portrait-painting is believed to have had its origin in an accident. Corinthia, a young girl of Sycon, discovered her beautiful lover asleep; the lamp which burned beside him cast the shadow of his profile on the wall; struck by the likeness, and inspired by love, she traced it, and thus produced the first specimen of that delightful art.
[etc etc]

In every-day life our happiest thoughts seem to be chance comers.

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