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January 25, 2023

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Unusual Name Origins

Did you ever wonder how products and places got their names? I've included some in today's issue that I thought were interesting. I never knew any of these!

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Today's Random Fact:

In 1953, the Rocket Chemical Company began developing a rust-prevention solvent called WD-40 for the aerospace industry. The name WD-40 indicates what the product does (water displacement) and how many attempts it took to perfect it.

Moby Dick was the favorite book of one of the three founders of the coffee empire Starbucks. He wanted to name the company after the story's fabled ship Pequod, but he and his partners reconsidered and settled instead on the name of the first mate, Starbuck.

Don and Doris Fisher opened their first GAP store in 1969 to meet the unique clothing demands of customers between childhood and adulthood, identified and popularized then as "the generation gap."

Bonus Fact:

In 1971, the founders of Nike in Beaverton, Oregon, were searching for a catchy company name. Designer Jeff Johnson suggested Nike, the name of the Greek goddess of victory.

Eugene the Jeep, a character in a 1936 Popeye comic strip, was actually a dog that could walk through walls, climb trees, and fly. When U.S. soldiers were given a new all-terrain vehicle in the early 1940s, they were so impressed that they may have named it after the superdog.

The name Shell Oil was appropriated by Marcus Samuel, one of the company's founders. His father ran a London retail outlet called the Shell Shop, where he sold bags decorated with seashells. This grew into an import-export business, which diversified into a business that imported oil and kerosene.