Author Archive

Shell

Posted by 17 February, 2008 Comments Off on Shell

Shell (petroleum and manufacturer) The story of Shell began in the first half of the nineteenth century in the curio shop in East Smithfield, London, set up by a Jewish dealer, Marcus Samuel. Samuel’s children had fastened seaside shells to their empty lunch boxes on returning from a holiday, and the dealer made up a number of such boxes and labeled them with the names of the resorts the shells had come from. For the more sophisticated demands of his lady customers he imported fancy polished shells from abroad. His shop soon became known as the Shell Shop, and business expanded rapidly so that by 1830 Marcus Samuel had built up an international trade in oriental curios and copra, as well as shells. When barreled kerosene was added to his cargo list, the world-wide activities of the Shell Shop were consolidated as the Shell Transport and Trading Co. This was in 1897 when the firm had been taken over by Samuel’s son, also called Marcus. (Marcus père died in 1870, aged 73.) The company adopted the scallop as its trademark in 1904

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Kodak

Posted by 17 February, 2008 Comments Off on Kodak

Kodak (photographic products and cameras and manufacturer) A trade name that is as well known internationally as Coca-Cola. The two names, in fact, appeared within two years of each other: Coca-Cola in 1886 and Kodak in 1888. Kodak as a name has no meaning: it is not intended to suggest any word (as ‘code’ or ‘compact’), nor does it derive from any word. It was invented by the American photographic pioneer, George Eastman, who patented it on 4 September 1888. Fortunately for posterity, Eastman has recorded the reasoning that prompted him to choose this particular name. He chose it, he says, “because I knew a trade name must be short, vigorous, incapable of being misspelled to an extent that would destroy its identity, and in order to satisfy trademark laws, it must mean nothing. The letter K has been a favourite with me-it seemed a strong, incisive sort of letter. Therefore, the work I wanted had to start with K. Then it became a question of trying out a great number of combinations of letters that made words starting and ending with K. The word Kodak is the result.’It has been pointed out that the name is additionally onomatopoeic-it suggests the clicking of a camera’s shutter. It may also be relevant that ‘K’ was first letter of Eastman’s mother’s family name. The name has sometimes been used generically in a number of languages for a camera. This prompted the Verband Deutscher Amateurphotographen Vereine (‘Joint Society of German Amateur Photographic Associations’) to issue the following warning (in German) in 1917: ‘Whoever speaks of a Kodak meaning only a photographic camera in general is not mindful of the fact that he is damaging the German industry in favour of the Anglo-American by widespread use of this word.’ George Eastman also invented the name of one of Kodak’s most popular cameras, the Brownie.

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Gillette

Posted by 17 February, 2008 Comments Off on Gillette

Gillette (safety razors, blades, and toiletries by Gillette Industries) The name comes from the company’s first president, King Camp Gillette, who traced his name back to the Gillet family of Somerset, England. Gillette patented the first disposable razorblades in 1902, having the previous year founded his company for the manufacture of razors and blades, initially as the American Safety Razor Co. Gillette as a name has a favourable French appearance (although a bogus one) for products in the sophisticated toiletries market. Gillette’s original blade had been perfected by William E. Nickerson, who designed equipment for the company. It was fortunate that he had not been the actual inventor, since ‘Nickerson’ would hardly make a suitable name for a company selling razors and blades.

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Coca-Cola

Posted by 17 February, 2008 (3) Comment

Coca-Cola (aerated drink and manufacturer) As one of the best known and most international of trade names, Coca-Cola was created in May 1886 by Frank M. Robinson, bookkeeper to the creator of the drink itself, Dr. John S. Pemberton, a druggist from Atlanta, Georgia, and was registered as a trademark on 31 January 1893. The name was based on two of the drink’s constituents: extracts from coca leaves and from the cola nut. That coca leaves also yield cocaine is a connection that the manufacturers do not now prefer to emphasize, and it is certainly true that although the drink once contained a form of the drug, especially in the early days when it was advertised as an ‘Esteemed Brain Tonic and Intellectual Beverage,’ it contains none now. The name itself is a remarkably successful one as a memorable and easily pronounceable trade name, having alliteration and three desirable ‘k’ sounds (compare Kodak). Coca-Cola gained popularity rapidly-it was first bottled in 1894-to such an extent that the manufacturers were obliged to register a second name for it used by the public as a ‘pet’ form: Coke. The second element of the name is not a registered trademark, so that ‘cola’ drinks exist on the market in a number of varieties. Among names of rival brands (imposters) were Coca, Cola, Fig Cola, Candy Cola, Cold Cola, Cay-Ola, and Koca-Nola. All these were outlawed by the courts in 1916.

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