Saturday, May 29, 2010

That name STINKS!

Do you ever wonder how some products get their name? I was looking at a recipe for some Cajun flavored rub and it called for some ‘Old Bay’ seasoning. Really is this the best name for anything associated with food? When I think of an old bay, I think of rotting wood and stinking fish parts far past their prime. Especially with all the troubles in the gulf, can you imagine if I started marketing ‘Oily Bay’ Louisiana hot sauce – who would buy it?

Look at the board game ‘Yahtzee’ - it has a pretty unusual name. If you think it sounds like some sort of high-brow expletive, your guess would not be bad. In fact the game’s origins are traced back to a wealthy Canadian couple’s diversion aboard their yacht in mid 1950’s. The game was originally known as the “Yacht Game” until the toy maker E.S. Lowe purchased the rights (followed by Hasbro)and marketed the game nationally under the brand name ‘Yahtzee’ in 1956.

Probably one of the more famous names that everybody has heard of but nobody knows what it means is ‘WD 40’. Yes the oily spray is probably at least a part of your home and car maintenance arsenal. The name translates literally to “Water Displacement , 40th attempt” and comes straight out of the chemist’s lab book in 1954. The stuff is believed to be derived mostly from fish oil and amazingly has an indefinite shelf life. As the name implies, WD-40 primarily repels water and hence inhibits rust, but its properties have proven to be a fairly effective cleaner as well.

Gee Yahtzee and WD-40 invented in the same year – no wonder the 50’s are remembered as the ‘happy’ days. No sorry, like a dead fish, that Old Bay secret mixture has been seasoning crustaceans for around 70 years or so. I think that is more than enough time to come up with a more palatable name … if not one that at least SMELLS better.

1 comment:

  1. My last name is "Yospe" and almost every year in my first grade class I have one or two kids that call me "Mr. Yahtzee". Interesting how it got it's name.