Nomenclature (was: NEXT Color Printer find

From: Wayne M. Smith <>
Date: Tue Jan 1 03:31:19 2002

> >Chris, I suggest that you do not have all of the relevant facts. The
> >wrench carries that name because Crescent Tools were the original
> >developer and manufacturer of it. That the name is used generically for
> >all adjustable wrenches of that design is a tribute to its popularity
> >and usefulness. Much the same as we speak of `xeroxing' copies.
> >
> >Centronics did not invent the Blue Ribbon connector. Amphenol did.
> >Centronics merely found a useful application that became the standard
> >parallel connector on printers (and on early computers - pre IBM). Not
> >quite the same accomplishment.
> I know the facts, and I know exactly why it carries that name (much like
> a Yankee Drill). But the arguments regarding the usage of terms was that
> you should call the item by its name, NOT by the common usage term. It
> becomes irrevlivant if the common name is that of the maker (in the case
> of Crescent), or of the company that popularized it (in the case of
> Centronics). The name is wrong either way. Under the "Crescent" logic,
> lets just call the "Centronics" connector an "Amphenol"... unless that
> will confuse the issue as they already have a number of connectors
> commonly refered to as "amp".
This is a grey issue. Brand names often become generic. I bet when you want an "aspirin" you don't ask for a "pain reliever" or
"analgesic", and, unless you are a polymer chemist, what would you call "styrofoam" other than "styrofoam"? Examples abound:
Kleenex, Band-aid, Thermos (from King-Sealy Thermos), Frisbee, etc. The purpose of language is to communicate with precision, and
sometimes the most precise way is to use the "common usage" term. You would sound pretty preposterous asking someone to toss you
that "plastic flying disc."
Received on Tue Jan 01 2002 - 03:31:19 GMT

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