Category:
Odd Names

Mrs. Sparrow found a sparrow

1952: Mrs. Florence Sparrow found a sparrow in her loaf of bread.

Spokane Chronicle - Feb 29, 1952

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 17, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Food, Odd Names, 1950s

Travel through Europe in Ohio

If you want to visit Venice, Rome, Warsaw, Dublin, Berlin, Amsterdam, or Vienna, there's no reason to leave the United States. In fact, one could visit all these places without going outside the borders of Ohio.

This is because Ohio has many cities and towns named after cities in Europe. Far more than any other U.S. state. You can find all the city names listed above in Ohio, plus many more. Think of a European city, and there's probably a town in Ohio with the same name.

Some people go on tours of European cities in Ohio, in lieu of actually going to Europe.

H2G2.com explains why Ohio has all these copycat names:

One reason why some cities were named after geographic areas is because of the canals built in Ohio during the early part of the 19th century. An enormous workforce was required to build the canals, so immigrants were brought in from Europe. Apparently, towns wanted to attract these immigrants to live in their communities to stimulate economic growth. In order to do this many places were often named after the location they had travelled from.

However, Ohioans have put their own unique stamp on many of these copycat names by pronouncing them differently. For instance, Milan, Ohio is pronounced "MY-lun". Some more Ohio pronunciations:

  • Lima (LY-ma)
  • Versailles (ver-SAILS)
  • Moscow (MAHS koh)
  • Russia (ROO she)
  • Vienna (veye EH nuh)
  • Berlin (BUR lynn)

More info: 20 Ohio Towns You're Probably Pronouncing Wrong

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 11, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Geography and Maps, Odd Names

The Other JFK

John Francis Kennedy served three terms as Treasurer of Massachusetts, from 1954 to 1960. He was legendary for putting almost no effort (or money) into campaigning. He made no speeches, nor did he advertise. He didn't even have any relevant experience for the job. Before becoming state treasurer he had been a stockroom supervisor at the Gillette Safety Razor Company.

By all accounts, the only reason for his political success was the resemblance of his name to John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

John Francis Kennedy probably would have kept running for state treasurer if he could have. But term limits prevented him. He tried running for governor in 1960 (while JFK was campaigning for President), but his winning streak finally ended.

More info: Commonwealth magazine, Our Campaigns

John Francis Kennedy



Miami News - May 22, 1960

Posted By: Alex - Sat Nov 20, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Odd Names, Politics, 1950s

Portable Pig Launchers

In the pipe industry (that is, pipes through which things flow, not the pipes one smokes), 'pigs' are defined as inspection gauges that travel through pipes (see wikipedia).

This leads to some odd product names, such as Portable Pig Launchers, Bi-Directional Pigs, and Subsea Pig Trackers.

iNPIPE Products offers a full line of portable pig launchers.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Oct 01, 2021 - Comments (7)
Category: Odd Names, Farming

Mr. Coke-Is-It

1985: Frederick Koch changed his name to "Coke-Is-It", saying that he was sick of people mispronouncing his name either Kotch or Cook. He was then promptly sued by Coca-Cola, since they had trademarked the phrase "Coke is it". Eventually a settlement was reached, allowing Mr. Coke-Is-It to keep using the name, as long as he didn't try to commercialize it.

Some digging revealed that Mr. Coke-Is-It was the father of the American skier Bill Koch, who was the first American to win a medal for skiing in international competition.

Argus Leader - Mar 15, 1985

Posted By: Alex - Tue May 11, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Odd Names, 1980s

The Waffle Party

With all this talk of rogue Republicans forming a new party, I hope they choose a name as evocative as that of Canada's The Waffle.



Source.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Feb 12, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Odd Names, Politics, 1960s, 1970s, North America

The Vibro-Helmontholator

A fancy name for a worm catcher.

The Elizabethton Star - Jan 12, 1938



San Francisco Examiner - Dec 16, 1937

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 10, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Inventions, Odd Names, 1930s

The Coward Shoe

In 1866, cobbler James S. Coward opened a store in New York City. He named it after himself, and he referred to the shoes he sold as "Coward shoes".

Despite the odd name, his business did extremely well. In fact, it endured almost to the present. As of 2014, the company had both a twitter and facebook page. But their website now redirects to Old Pueblo Traders whom, I'm guessing, must have acquired them.

The Keyport Weekly - Apr 23, 1892



Boston Globe - Sep 20, 1927

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 25, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Odd Names, Shoes

Hurff Foods

Hurff... It's not a name, one would think, that would lend itself to selling food. Though it didn't seem to hurt Edgar Hurff's food business, which flourished until 1948. It was then sold to Del Monte, which evidently opted not to keep the Hurff name.

Life - Apr 19, 1937



Source: Swedesboro and Woolwich Township

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 11, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Food, Odd Names

Email Limited

It's not clear who first used the word 'email' to refer to electronic mail. The entrepreneur Shiva Ayyadurai has taken credit since, in 1978, when he was a 14-year-old high school student in New Jersey, he built an electronic mail software program that he called 'EMAIL'.

Actually, Ayyadurai goes further and claims he not only coined the term but also invented the very concept of email. But there's a lot of skepticism about his claims.

However, what is clear is that the term 'email' was in use for decades before 1978, although not to refer to electronic mail. It was the name of a large Australian company that specialized in making meters for gas, water, and electricity. The name was an acronym that stood for 'Electricity Meter & Allied Industries Ltd.'

The tagline of the company was "Email — a totally Australian enterprise." Wikipedia notes: "At one time there would have been few houses in Australia which did not have an Email meter."



Sydney Morning Herald - July 11, 1977

Posted By: Alex - Fri Apr 24, 2020 - Comments (6)
Category: Odd Names

Page 1 of 5 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›




weird universe thumbnail
Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
June 2022 •  May 2022 •  April 2022 •  March 2022 •  February 2022 •  January 2022

December 2021 •  November 2021 •  October 2021 •  September 2021 •  August 2021 •  July 2021 •  June 2021 •  May 2021 •  April 2021 •  March 2021 •  February 2021 •  January 2021

December 2020 •  November 2020 •  October 2020 •  September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •