1949 explores the history and origin of
common products and phrases.

‘Tis the season!

Shopping, Christmas carols, Hanukkah presents, more shopping and sales galore! Whether you’re out at four in the morning on Black Friday or prefer spend a bundle on Cyber Monday, you’ve no doubt come across the word doorbuster.

Doorbuster! It’s a vivid word. You can just see the crowds of holiday shoppers, noses and palms pressed to the glass, eager to burst through the store doors as soon some hapless clerk unlocks them.

To whom, you might wonder, do we owe credit for originating the notion of a doorbuster sale? Where did doorbuster have its First Mention?

You can thank Mr. James Cash Penney. His Penney chain of stores (back before he appended his initials and became J.C. Penney) first coined the term doorbuster on January 13, 1949 in Alabama, in an ad that appeared in the Tuscaloosa News.

It wasn’t long before Gimbels picked up on the phrase later in 1949, urging readers of the N.Y. Times to “come in for these hard-to-beat door busters.”

A year later, Newberry’s, in Los Angeles, collapsed the two-word door buster down to a single, simpler doorbuster, the form that we know it today, as seen in their July 9, 1950 ad in the Los Angeles Times.

Enough for now. Time to go shopping.
Our FirstMention research is carried out in many sources, including historical newspaper archives, online family history records, state archives, and old books.