Global Warming

1957 explores the history and origins
of common products and phrases.

The idea that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels can change the climate of the entire planet isn’t as recent as you might suppose. Scientists were giving the matter some serioius attention more than a hundred years ago.

But the catch-phrase global warming is pretty recent. Or is it…? The first very modern-sounding use of this term harks back a surprisingly long time, to a First Mention in this November 6, 1957 newspaper article.

Here it is in a bit more detail.

Watch with interest, indeed. The word prescient certainly comes to mind here.

UPDATE! William Safire’s “On Language” column in the New York Times opines on the origins of ‘global warming’. He cites the November 6, 1957 Hammond Times as the first use…er, firstmention…of the phrase. Wonder if he’s a fan of


Our FirstMention research is carried out in many sources, including historical newspaper archives, online family history records, state archives, and old books.