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Learn it here, learn it well.

Grog - the Story

Family, Nickname, Websites and an App.

The Nickname

Pictures of Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon

British sailors in the 1700s gave the nickname "Grog" or "Old Grog" to Admiral Vernon because his coat was made of a coarse silk called Grogram (a contraction of Grosgrain). When he introduced the practice of diluting the sailors' daily rum ration, his nickname was applied to the drink - and his nickname survives for drinks to this day. Serving under Admiral Vernon was an American, Lawrence Washington. Lawrence was so impressed by Vernon that he later named the plantation home that he built Mount Vernon and when he died it was inherited by his half brother George Washington. You can still visit Mount Vernon today south of Washington, DC., and when you do, remember it was named after a "Grog".

The Family Nickname

For the Grogono family "Grog" has been a frequently used nickname. Today, three brothers (Alan, James, and Andrew) all call each other "Grog" which sounds more confusing than it is in practice.

Pictures of Walter Atkins Grogono
Walter Atkins Grogono

Walter Atkins Grogono

If Only People Could Spell.

We wouldn't exist - at least not under this name. Sometime in the mid 1880's one Mandeville was born a Grogona - with a final "a". However, Mandeville and his step parents appeared to have attached little importance to accurate spelling and he became Grogono (with a final "o"). He passed this now-unique family name to his child Walter Atkins Grogono, who grew up and adopted the profession of his step father, Dr. Clay, and became a doctor in East London.

Doctors in London's East End.

Walter Atkins Grogono was the start of a long line of Grogono doctors, a tradition which continues to this day. The three generations which followed him all trained at the London Hospital in Whitechapel in East London. Today, there are many of his descendants in medicine.

Creativity and Sailing.

Pictures of Eric Walter Grogono
Eric Walter Grogono

Eric Walter Grogono

Walter Atkins's third child Eric Walter Grogono, a family doctor and part time anesthesiologist, exemplfied the innovative streak which permeates the family. In the days of steam cars, he visited his patients in a Stanley Steamer. With his more demanding patients he adopted the neat trick of leaving the fuel burning to heat up the steam boiler. This allowed him an apparently relaxed visit until the safety valve blew the whistle, when he took a hasty departure.

He had success in the early days of building and racing outboard hydroplanes, and then adopted sailing as the family sport. Two of his descendants have raced sailboats in the Olympics: his son Keith in the 1936 German Olympics, and his great grandson David in the 1996 USA Olympics. He would be ecstatic that members of the next three generations are still winning sailing races in many different parts of the world.

Sailing and Knots

Pictures of Ketch Sonia
Ketch Sonia

Ketch Sonia
Pictures of Eric Bernard Grogono
Eric Bernard Grogono

Eric Bernard Grogono

His oldest son Eric Bernard Grogono ("Grog" or "Groggy" to family and friends), again a family doctor and part-time anesthesiologist, inherited his father's engineering and sailing passions. While serving as a ship's doctor on a British Submarine depot ship in World War II, he managed to build a high performance sailboat and race it in Aden Harbour. He also inherited the beloved family 50' ketch "Sonia", which provided a sailing foundation for the growing family and for generations of medical students at the London Hospital. In addition, his love of racing smaller boats on the River Alde in Suffolk, England, infected his children and grandchildren. And, his love of handling ropes correctly and using the right knot for the right job stimulated interest in his sons.

Anesthesiologist, Sailor, and Webmaster

Pictures of "Grog" (Alan Grogono)
"Grog" (Alan Grogono)

"Grog" (Alan Grogono)

Bernard's son, Alan (always known as "Grog"), planned a career as an engineer or a comedian but father wisely interceded on the basis that a medical career would allow both. He was right!  Grog almost followed father and grandfather into family practice but chose full time anesthesiology.

Pictures of Icarus (Modified Tornado)
Icarus (Modified Tornado)

Icarus (Modified Tornado)

Grog's surgeon brother James played a major role in initiating the sport of high speed sailing. James, Grog, brother Andrew, with their father and two friends, created the hydrofoil born Tornado "Icarus", and progressively increased the World Sailing Speed Record in "B" Class between 1977 and 1985. Today, a mean speed of 28.14 knots sounds modest. At the time, for an amateur family team, it seemed very respectable as well as very exciting.

Migration and Websites

Pictures of David Grogono
David Grogono

David Grogono

Grog, his dentist wife Anthea, and their four young children migrated to the USA in 1974. The family medical tradition was preserved by Sally who became an obstetrician in Austin TX.  In 1995, when Grog was Chairman of the anesthesiology department at Tulane Medical School, he announced to his astonished department that they must have a website. As no one else had any idea what he meant, he created his first departmental website, followed soon after by the family website with a section devoted to tying sailing knots. Countless requests for additional sections on Fishing, Climbing, Scouting provided the stimulus; Grog's total hip and total knee surgery provided the enforced immobility and opportunity: Animated Knots by Grog was born and rapidly became the most popular knots site on the web.

Disks and Downloads

Pictures of Martin Grogono
Martin Grogono

Martin Grogono

Recurring requests for a version on a disk came from scout troops, fire departments, search and rescue teams, and people with slow internet connections. To meet this demand we created Grog LLC: son David provided programming expertise; and son Martin provided his graphic design experience. Even before the disk was available we had a lengthy order list. And then, just as we had completed the disk, we started getting requests for a download version. We produced two versions, one for Macs and another for Windows, both of which are popular. The disk has been discontinued.


Pictures of iPhone App
iPhone App

iPhone App

Development of a version for the iPhone started in 2009. The App was finally released in Late June 2010. For some days we sold only a few - partly via our own website and partly because friends and relatives felt we needed support. Then we suddenly hit success: Apple featured us as one of their favorites and for July we were the most profitable and most popular amongst iTunes' paid Reference Apps. Even now the App still sells very well. We continue to add more knots, and improve the Apps for Android, iPad, and other platforms.

Major Updates

The original photographs were taken on the kitchen table. When the sun shone the photos were bright; when it rained they were dark. Since 2010 the animations have been re-photographed using new technology and more consistent conditions. Prompted by requests from website visitors, more animations have been added to reach a total of over a hundred and eighty. This new material is added regularly to the website and, although less frequently, to our Apps. At the end of 2016, the website was updated to provide separate mobile and desktop versions.

New Sections

More recent sections include the Arborist's Knots and Surgical Knots, the latter stimulated by our research which showed that the Constrictor Knot made the Best Ligature.

Related Websites

Three Partners' Websites

The three partners in Grog LLC run a number of other websites, some family, some educational, and some business:

  • Knot Tying

    Our sister website Animated Knots by Grog shows how to tie knots for many diferent activities.
  • Grog LLC

    The Company website for Grog LLC with a link to our Popular Unicode Table.
  • Grogware

    Cross-Platform Consulting and Software. Visit for consulting information or to download your own copy of some intriguing games.
  • Grogono Family Website

    The Grogono Family website provides some photographs as well as the sections devoted to magic squares, etc.
  • Passport Photo Studio

    Make quality passport photos at home. Use a picture you like for a Passport Photo you'll like. Passport photo software is easy and fun to use. Visit Passport Photo Studio to download your own copy.
  • Acid-Base Tutorial

    This website is aimed at physicians, physiologists, medical students, nurses, and other health care professionals. The Tutorial includes interactive diagrams and equations to make the material more interesting and more readily understood.
  • Magic Squares

    This is a website aimed at the recreational mathematician. It focuses on the creation and structure of Magic Squares. It explains the "Magic Carpet" theory underlying regular pan-magic squares.
  • Stereo Art

    This website demonstrates how a vivid three-dimensional stereo image is created from a repeated stereo image pair. A collection of Stereo Art Images illustrates the technique.
  • Index for Health Measurement

    One of the earliest systems for measuring health is described on Grogono/Woodgate Index for Measuring Health. Copies are available for downloading.

Disclaimer: Any activity that involves ropes is potentially hazardous. Lives may be at risk - possibly your own. Considerable attention and effort have been made to ensure that these descriptions are accurate. However, many critical factors cannot be controlled, including: the choice of materials; the age, size, and condition of ropes; and the accuracy with which these descriptions have been followed. No responsibility is accepted for incidents arising from the use of this material.

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Grog LLC

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Version 6.0 Jan 1, 2016
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