Re: JEEP a Brand name?
AAllan at AOL.COM
AAllan at AOL.COM
Fri Apr 25 19:33:38 UTC 2003
Here's the entry for 1940 from that authoritative work, "America in So Many
Words" by Metcalf and Barnhart (Houghton Mifflin, 1997):
<< Jeep was a term that carried humor before it carried soldiers. It also
carried a wide variety of other military meanings before it became the
designation for the “half-ton four-by-four command-reconnaissance car” first
manufactured for the U.S. Army in September 1940.
Both the design and the name had their beginning in the 1930s, years before
they came together in the first production models. The design of the as yet
unnamed vehicle apparently originated with a tank captain in 1932, and its
development involved three different manufacturers over the rest of the
decade. Meanwhile, the term jeep was undergoing its own development. In the
military, jeep could mean a recruit, a poorly-fitting coat, or the Link
Trainer for pilots. In civilian life, Eugene the Jeep was introduced March
16, 1936 as a new character in the Popeye comic strip. Eugene was a small but
mighty creature whose cry was jeep, jeep.
The combination of connotations, military and civilian, little and yet
powerful, must have been the inspiration that led someone to call the new
military vehicle a jeep and thereby fix the meaning for future generations.
World War II brought the modern meaning of jeep to all corners of the globe
traversed by American soldiers. After the war it added a civilian dimension;
the sturdy box with four-wheel drive, open to nature and the elements, became
popular for civilian recreation and scientific adventures. The jeep remains
in popularity and production now, more than half a century after it first
Now the earliest instances "jeep" referring to the vehicle aren't fully
known. But after this book was published, Barry Popik posted a 1941 citation:
>From THIS WEEK magazine, NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, 27 April 1941, pg. 11, col.
...its midget trucks (jeeps) scooting through the woods like rabbits or,
deftly mounted on empty gasoline drums, crossing a river with complete ease.
Also from the ARMY TIMES later in 1941:
While driving the "jeep" cars, light trucks, wreckers, passenger cars and
other types of motor vehicles, the Army drivers have developed a language
just as mysterious as Hindustani--and sounds just like it.
A lengthy discussion of the origins of "jeep" by Cecil Adams was posted to
ADS-L in March 2000.
In any case, while the exact details of its origin remain uncertain, it is
certain that "jeep" was in use during World War II as a generic, not a brand
- Allan Metcalf
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