[Ads-l] Antedating of "humdinger"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 25 06:31:38 UTC 2015

LH wrote:
> Very nice.  Do we know from the context what Steven's $5 baby
> cabs might be?  Given the date, I suspect they're not bottles
> of young cabernet, or taxis.  The OED entry for cab (sense 1)
> does of course encompass horse-driven hansom cabs, but
> baby ones?  More likely, this is an instance of sense 2, "a small
> erection",  which on closer examination is perhaps more relevant
> than it sounds, corresponding to what's still called the cab of a
> truck (or locomotive engine), but I'm still not sure
> whether they'd be sold separately (as babies) for $5.

A "baby cab" might be a baby stroller or baby carriage of some type.

Dictionary of American Regional English
Short link:  http://bit.ly/1KTCrkQ

[Begin excerpt]
Vehicles for a small child--the kind it has to sit up in:

STROLLER   Frequency: 642
GO-CART    Frequency: 211
. . .
BABY CAB    Frequency: 1
[End excerpt]

Below is the text of the citation located previously by Stephen.
Typos/OCR errors are probably present. The apostrophe in the store
name below was placed after the final "s" to yield STEVENS'. The
apostrophe in the citation I posted previously was placed before the
"s" to yield Steven's. It might be a different store.

Date: April 07, 1896
Paper: Daily Register Gazette
Description: Advertisement for Steven's 99 Cent Store
Quote Page 2, Column 7
Newspaper Location: Rockford, Illinois
Database: GenealogyBank

[Begin excerpt]
A Good Thing Push It Along

That's what everyone says when they see our Cabs; they are beauties,
ball bearings, removable upholstering.

A nice one, only.....$5.00
A natty one, only....8.00
A nobby one, only....10.00
A beauty, only.......12.00
A humdinger, only... 15.00

We've a big stock so you have a nice line to select from and we buy
direct from the factory so we can sell very cheap.

Give Us a Call.

109 W. State  99c Store.
[End excerpt]


>> From: "ADSGarson O'Toole" <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject: Re: Antedating of "humdinger"
>> Date: September 24, 2015 at 7:49:41 PM EDT
>> Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Great work Ben, Stephen and Hugo. Below is a slightly earlier instance
>> of humdinger(s). This instance also appeared in a Rockford, Illinois
>> newspaper. (Warning: Selection bias: That is where I looked.)
>> The classified advertisement below ran on several days, e.g. March 6
>> and March 8, 1896.
>> Date: March 6, 1896
>> Paper: The Morning Star
>> Description: Short classified advertisement
>> Quote Page 4, Column 4
>> Newspaper Location: Rockford, Illinois
>> Database: GenealogyBank
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> Steven's $5 baby cabs are humding-
>> ers.
>> [End excerpt]
>> Garson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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