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Author Topic: Elmer-origin of the word  (Read 5592 times)
CAPNGADGET
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« on: September 03, 2015, 08:46:43 AM »

Hi all
I am a very lucky ham who has the assistance of two elmers, one a retired engineer and the other a physicist.
my question is on the origin of the word itself - in another post someone mentioned that it was at least 44 years old but didn't speculate on the origin of the word - anyone care to take a stab at it?
thanks for any input
VA3OOZ

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W1VT
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2015, 08:52:20 AM »

http://www.arrl.org/elmer-award
The term "Elmer"--meaning someone who provides personal guidance and assistance to would-be hams--first appeared in QST in a March 1971 "How's DX" column by Rod Newkirk, W9BRD (now also VA3ZBB).
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N9FB
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 10:40:13 AM »

that reads to me like he was not coining the phrase but using it in a way he had been taught to by other hams, perhaps his elmers(?)
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WA2ISE
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2015, 12:10:37 PM »

Not this Elmer?
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CAPNGADGET
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2015, 05:55:54 PM »

http://www.arrl.org/elmer-award
The term "Elmer"--meaning someone who provides personal guidance and assistance to would-be hams--first appeared in QST in a March 1971 "How's DX" column by Rod Newkirk, W9BRD (now also VA3ZBB).
yes but how did the word come about - what is it's etymology? I'm going with it coming from "elder member", as in one of the more senior members of any local Ham club - but that is pure speculation on my part.
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DRBEN
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2015, 06:38:20 PM »

In the magazine article, Newkirk created a fictional ham, whom he called "Elmer, W9XYZ", who was the archetypal ham who enjoyed helping others by sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm. Newkirk then made the word into a general term for all such people. As a given name, Elmer is a corruption of the Old English name "Æðelmær" (Ethelmayer) and means "noble and famous". It appears that Elmer is a name that Newkirk pulled out of thin air for his article.
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WA2ISE
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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2015, 09:46:59 AM »

In normal life names don't have meaning, other than just being a word that is used only to name someone.  Elmer is rarely assigned to babies today, but may have been popular about a hundred years ago.  Which means that Elmer would have been an older person for novice baby boomers. 

The cartoon character Elmer Fudd may have discouraged parents from using Elmer for their babies.  Other names fell out of favor, Adolf is one for obvious reasons. 
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DRBEN
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2015, 12:22:03 PM »

According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Social Security Administration, Elmer has been steadily and quickly losing ground as a name for newborns since 1900. See http://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/popularnames.cgi

1900, 38th in popularity
1930, 80th
1950, 226th
1960, 340th
1970, 476th (the year before the QST article was written)
2000, 862th
In the last five years, 2010-2014, Elmer was not in the top 1,000 names

Apart from Elmer Fudd  Wink there are very few famous Elmers.

Elmer Bernstein, composer and conductor over 100 Hollywood movies, including the Great Escape, Ghostbusters and the Ten Commandments; a close friend (but not related to) composer Leonard Bernstein.
Elmer Sperry, inventor of the gyrocompass

The most famous is probably the fictional character Elmer Gantry in the eponymous book by Sinclair Lewis, later made into the 1960 film starring Burt Lancaster.

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K7KBN
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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2015, 09:54:52 PM »

How about Elmer Zglu, the inventor of ...  Grin

Names of Biblical personages have become much more popular in the last dozen or so years.  Lucifer is still toward the bottom of the list, though.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
AC4RD
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« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2015, 05:27:30 AM »

Not this Elmer?

"Be vewwy vewwy quiet--I'm hunting MULTIPWIERS!"    ;-)
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N7ZAL
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« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2015, 09:38:50 AM »

I never heard the word "Elmer" used as reference to ham tutor until recently. It wasn't around in the 1950's, 1960's in my circles.

It does sound like a ridiculous word though.  Sad
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Later, Bill N7ZAL (ex. WA2DPB, WB3BOC, N2FWS)
JS6TMW
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« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2015, 08:03:05 PM »

I never heard the word "Elmer" used as reference to ham tutor until recently. It wasn't around in the 1950's, 1960's in my circles.

It does sound like a ridiculous word though.  Sad

Same here (I quit in 1968 and came back this year). We used to use the Abbreviation "OT" for Old Timer, that carried more or less the same meaning.

(And now I are one)

73,

AI6KX in Okinawa where autumn comes in November.
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K4KYV
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« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2015, 08:39:42 PM »

It sounds just plain dumb.  Elmer who? Elmer Fudd?  We have a perfectly good English word, "mentor", which has a much more sophisticated sound and educated ring to it. And we wonder why some people say that amateur radio is dumbing down.
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