Friday, July 26, 2013

The Pull of George Pullman

The other piece of trivia that surfaced while researching the name George was The Society for the Prevention of Calling Sleeping Car Porters "George". It was started in 1914 as a joke by lumber baron George W. Dulany. The practice was apparently a carry over from before the abolition of slavery, when slaves were often named after their masters. Since most of the porters at that time were black, they were given the generic name "George" after George Pullman who manufactured and operated a large portion of sleeping cars.

Well, the society may have started as a joke, but it ended up with over 31,000 members including King George V and George Herman "Babe" Ruth. An initiative of the society was to put a card in each sleeping car with the actual name of the porter on it. This brought a degree of dignity to the job and the person.

Suitcase with wheels

Unfortunately, the position of porter and/or bellhop is fast disappearing, mainly since Bernard Sadow put wheels on suitcases. As an aside, our national railway has just eliminated the position of Porter. Over a thousand people are now out of work. Ironically we have an airline called Porter, hopefully they still have Skycaps!

I can't think of other occupations that have this "nominal" stigma. I know that we often refer to menial occupations as "Joe" jobs. Actually, now, I think that they are call "McJobs." Please post if you know of any.

Have an inspiring day!!

No comments:

Post a Comment