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Whoopee cushion
Posted: 11 January 2017 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Checking OED I note that the earliest cite is this one:

1960 Spectator 3 June 804 The comically battered face of a whoopee cushion.

And yet:

whoopeecushion.jpeg.size.custom.crop.488x650.jpg

“The JEM Rubber Co. invented the infamous Whoopee Cushion in Toronto in 1930. The gag is still popular today.”

Image and quote from The Toronto Star

Clearly an update needed, and surely even in 1986 OED could have found a few North American cites. All three cites given are British and you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a device that originated in the UK.

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Posted: 11 January 2017 12:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You’re welcome to take the credit....

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Posted: 11 January 2017 04:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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And would, but other than that illustration, which is undated, I can’t find an actual usage of the term at or near to the time of the cushion’s invention. There’s no indication in the wiki or the article in the Star as to who actually named it or when, although I assume it was called so right from the start.

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Posted: 11 January 2017 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Did Somebody Step on a Duck?: A Natural History of the Fart
By Jim Dawson

Page 17 offers an explanation of the name.

[Edit: shortened URL--dw]

[ Edited: 13 January 2017 05:45 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 11 January 2017 06:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Nice find, cuchuflete. And what a great book!

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Posted: 11 January 2017 06:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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This seems to be the earliest citation of the expression. I’m not sure on the accuracy of this book.

[Edit: shortened URL--dw]

[ Edited: 13 January 2017 05:46 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 12 January 2017 12:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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There was a whoopee cushion in my home in the 1940’s. I don’t know who acquired it, or brought it home. The sound was quite startlingly authentic. I remember seeing them advertised in American comic books: there was a company called Johnson Smith, which sold novelties by mail (it’s still going, by the way, and still offering a whoopee cushion):Johnson Smith.  To my shame I confess that we once put one under deaf Auntie Violet, who had no idea what all the laughter was about, but cheerfully joined in.

A really amusing book, cuchuflete. Congratulations on the find!

[ Edited: 12 January 2017 01:07 AM by lionello ]
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Posted: 12 January 2017 08:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Logophile - 11 January 2017 06:53 PM

This seems to be the earliest citation of the expression. I’m not sure on the accuracy of this book.

https://books.google.com/books?id=v1U7XGXmJtAC&pg=PA12&dq=The+history+of+the+"Whoopee+Cushion"&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjNuZaGtbvRAhXpq1QKHTtqBFgQ6AEILzAE#v=onepage&q=The%20history%20of%20the%20"Whoopee%20Cushion"&f=false

Logophile, and cuchuflet I BEG you to use the <a> function.

or better, use a url shortening function like this at bit.ly http://bit.ly/2j6D1CE

On my computer, IE and Chrome stretches the page so that I have to use the scroll bar at the bottom of the page in order to read not only your note, but also every note that follows and precedes yours. I’ve posted this in the Meta thread but thought it might be helpful here.

Firefox seems to handle this better, however.

[ Edited: 12 January 2017 08:48 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 13 January 2017 06:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Entertaining as the Dawson book doubtless is, there’s still no antedate for the OED’s 1960.

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Posted: 13 January 2017 08:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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And there’s the rub.

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Posted: 13 January 2017 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Any of the comic books which carried Johnson Smith’s advertisements from (according to Wikipedia) around 1935 onwards, should provide mention of the Whoopee cushion. Wikipedia (s.v. Johnson Smith) mentions several of these comics by name: Action Comics, Detective Comics, the Katzenjammer Kids, in addition to periodicals such as Boys’ Life, Popular Mechanics, and Science Digest. For anyone with access to that literature from that period, any number of references to the Whoopee cushion, antedating 1960, should be available in that company’s adverts.

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Posted: 13 January 2017 10:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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According to Google Books, “whoopie cushion” appears in what seems to be an ad in Astounding Science Fiction, vol. 21, issue 4.  I’ve verified that this issue was published in 1938, as the Google metadata claims!  Could they be fixing the serials dating problem?

There are also a couple of cites in American Home, ostensibly from 1937, but I didn’t bother to verify the date.  I’m sure the OED has antedates in their files, and are just waiting for whoopie cushion‘s turn to come around.

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Posted: 14 January 2017 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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This seems to be the earliest citation of the expression. I’m not sure on the accuracy of this book.

[Edit: shortened URL--dw]

[ Edited: 13 January 2017 05:46 AM by Dave Wilton ]

The link, which I submitted, highlights the page where the specific topic is being discussed.  One doesn’t have to search for it, which can be an impossible task with Google books.

I’m confused, because the link that Dave submitted just provides the book where the topic is discussed, but one must search through the pages for the topic, and this can be an arduous task. Is there an easier method?

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Posted: 14 January 2017 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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This message board doesn’t interpret URLs quite right. Certain characters screw it up. In this case, it is an ampersand. It happens with Wikipedia pages too.

Still it’s a good practice to embed URLs rather than leave them plain text. Horizontal scrolling is undesirable.

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Posted: 14 January 2017 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Isn’t it a little disingenuous to blame the board software’s parsing of ampersands, Dave?  The point is, Logophile’s long URL took the reader directly to the page of the book where “whoopee cushion” was mentioned, and after you shortened it, it just pointed to the Googlebooks entry for the book.

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Posted: 14 January 2017 04:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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http://torontoist.com/2013/04/toronto-invents-the-whoopee-cushion/

That link will take you, should you be interested, to 20130418johnsonsmith.jpg
a printd advert for the Whoopie device.  It is dated as follows:  “Source: Johnson Smith & Company Catalogue #148, 1938.”

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