"booster coat" (and "bag") not in the OED

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Jul 1 13:52:17 UTC 2011

"Booster coat" and "booster bag" are not in the OED.  ("Booster" =
"shoplifter" is, from 1912.)

Earliest I see quickly in GBooks for "booster coat" is 1968 -- so
what did they call them in the premodern era?
Crime, correction, and society, by Elmer Hubert Johnson, 1968 (snippet):
"The "booster coat" has loosened lining to allow items to be dropped
to the billowy bottom."  (Wilson, restrain yourself!)

Then GBooks gives me "Holiday: Volume 46", allegedly by John
Steinbeck, 1969 (snippet):
"One day he came in wearing what I call his "take-jacket" and
professional shoplifters call a "booster coat"; big, loose, huge
inside pockets. He walked around, looked at a couple of cars, came
into my office, we talked. "

("Take-jacket" is not in the OED either.)

"Booster bag", oddly, I find earlier, allegedly in 1949.  (Unless
GBooks has messed up again, as Science Digest apparently started in
1936.  However, there is some evidence it numbered two volumes per year.)
Science Digest: Volume 25, 1949 (snippet):
"A hat box or shopping bag, for instance, is often outfitted with a
false bottom, thus becoming what those in the know term a booster
bag. Some professionals wear booster bloomers or skirts with elastic
around the waist and a catch-all ..."

The next instance of "booster bag" I saw was 1973.


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