Of the immigrants up to the Popeye helpers: the origins of a legend

Frankfurt, March 14, 2016

On February 19, 1941, almost exactly 75 years ago a public read jeep in the newspaper that name for the first time. On this day, the prototype drove up the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Willys quad. Senator James M. Meade, which they could hardly refuse the directions to his place of work was sitting at the wheel. Asked what sort of a strange vehicle, the accompanying test driver of the manufacturer of Willys-overland, replied, Irving "Red" Hausmann: "it BB´s a jeep."

Legend 1: immigrants

The name was not an invention of Hausmann? Where the expression really come from, that's why many legends are told. The first claims quite simply: jeep was the family name of one of the designers. Namely, an immigrant from Germany, since Jeep is an old German family name that is already in the 16th century.

Legend 2: the beginners

Another legend sees the origins of the brand name in the first World War: at that time vehicles which got the army to test, were named Jeep. They are thus adopted the traditional term for freshly-drawn recruits.

Legend 3: the Jack-of-all-trades

Jeep had yet another meaning in the American parlance: a great guy who can do anything, a Jack-of-all-trades. When the army wrote out a reconnaissance vehicle with a weight of a quarter ton and all-wheel drive ("1/4 ton 4 x 4 reconnaissance vehicle") in 1940, the specification was so unusual that the technician probably wondered what the army wanted to have for now. The answer: "they want a Jeep", so: "You want a Jack of all trades".

Legend 4: the comic book Fabel essence

A Jack of all trades made since the early 1930s in the popular Popeye comic career: Eugene, a mythical creature with Knollennase, was able to travel through time and space and solved the problems of the sailor Popeye often. Since Eugene Although everything could except talk he brought only his full name was a sound which sounded like "Eugene the Jeep".

General purpose (GP)

Which legend is true now, so what nobody more today. The naming was also useful but, that the army an all purpose vehicle ("general purpose vehicle") sought and as with manufacturers of the car described the project as GPW Ford (G for government contract, P for 80-inch wheelbase and W for license Willys-overland). Because the contraction of G and P (English "Dschie PI" pronounced) jeep fit perfectly to the name. No matter how the name really was: Hausmann made the term public 75 years ago. He had no idea that Jeep later not just a brand, but commonly would refer to a whole genus of vehicle: the SUVs and off-road vehicles. (sl)