antedating of "Jeep" (the airplane meaning) (1937)

Sam Clements sclements at NEO.RR.COM
Sat Sep 6 00:10:39 UTC 2003

My local paper, the Akron Beacon Journal, has been running a series of Ohio
snippets this year, as it's the 200th Anniv. of our "founding."

I feel as frustrated as Barry, because they write things that are just not
true.  And I email them, telling them to call me, but they just don't give
me no respect.

So, today's was about the Ohio company who made "jeeps" for WWII.  And they
say that "jeep" comes from "G.P."=General Purpose.  Which probably isn't
true.  But this post isn't about the military vehicle.  It's about

But, one last bit of vitriol.'s search engine sucks the big
one.  Barry and I and Jonathon  Green can tell you this, but until you try
to find things over there, you JUST CAN'T UNDERSTAND.   But when you do,
it's like hitting the lottery.  (or having your teenager finally realize
that you've gotten smarter as he got older :) )

May 31, 1937, the Helena(MT.) Independent.  Page number is indistinct.
St. Louis, May 30.  (AP)  Art Crester narrowly escaped a crash today when
the motor of his cream-colored "Jeep" quit on the takeoff for a 50-mile race
at the St. Louis Air show."

Now the paper is just wrong about the pilot's name--his name was Art
CHESTER,  a very famous pilot who was a leading racer in the National Air
Races which were the rage in the 1930's.

After Googling for a few hours about Art Chester, and doing some
extrapolation, I've come up with the following theory, and a few additional

Art Chester seems to have been one of the very top air racers starting about
1932.  His plane that he was using in the 1936-37 season was referred to as
the "Jeep," as the cite I gave proves.  Chester,  in about 1938 started
showing up at the air races in a plane he called the "Goon." (see where I'm
going with this......?)

So I infer that the name "Jeep" for an airplane was originated by Chester as
a tribute to the Popeye character introduced in early 1936--Eugene the Jeep.

There is always the possiblity that "jeep" in reference to an airplane was
derived from a previous military useage.

Sam Clements

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