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Things Unexpectedly Named After People

Oh man, I really enjoyed this “infuriating” list of things that don’t seem like they are named after people, including:

  • Price Club (Sol Price)
  • MySQL (My Widenius)
  • Shrapnel (Henry Shrapnel)
  • PageRank (Larry Page)
  • German chocolate cake (Samuel German)
  • Baker’s Chocolate (Walter Baker)

It reminds me of trademarked names that have become generic words, including:

  • heroin
  • escalator
  • aspirin
  • trampoline
  • videotape
  • dry ice
  • flip phone
  • laundromat
  • dumpster
  • onesies

Discussion  14 comments

David Nir

Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge! Surreal. Of course he was the first chair of the Port Authority. Literally born to it.

Atanas Entchev

You beat me to it.

Dana Schloss

So Outerbridge Crossing is named for a person?!

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Akshay Jain

This was fun. Here's another one, Garmin: Named after the two founders: Gary Burrell and Min Kao

Michael Sippey

Now that I know this, it makes perfect sense: heroin is just too good of a name not to have been trademarked.

Vincent Jacobs

I never would have expected the burpee exercise was named after physiologist Royal H. Burpee.

Olivier Monbaillu

Here's a fun one: in French, a trash can is "une poubelle".
Well, let me introduce you to Eugène Poubelle.

Tim Erskine

Let us not forget:
Adi Dassler: Adidas
Earl Tupper: Tupperware

Adrenalin is a brand name for epinephrine
Zipper was once the brand name for BF Goodrich's overshoe fastener
Ping pong
Super glue
Allen wrench

Joshua A

I think my favourite one of these is Pilates, which was named after the creator, Joseph Pilates

Ryan Nee

Presumably his last name was chronically mispronounced, so this is a bold choice.

Jason KottkeMOD

Apologies in advance, but I think it would be cool if Erik Estrada opened a pilates gym and called it Ponch's Pilates.

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MacRae Linton

Taco Bell! named after the founder, Glen Bell

Leon Barnard

Max Factor, nice! Reminds me of when Homer changed his name to Max Power.


Surprised to not see Hoover on this list (genericized trademark of Hoover / William Henry Hoover), the brand name of one of the first vacuum cleaners. In the UK, people are near incapable of calling a vacuum cleaner anything but a Hoover. So if you're in the UK and you buy a Hoover, your Hoover is a Hoover or a Hoover Hoover.

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