Did you remember your rabbits today? I hope so! I want you all to have good luck all month long!
I am still getting feedback on the posting about the crescent wrench. My childhood friend Cheryl Hunter from Eugene, OR writes:
But the real question is not about wrenches but is about what you callthese brand names that have become generic names, i.e., Kleenex, Xerox(for copy), Tylenol, etc. Someone once told me the term that refers tosuch brand-to-generic names but I've lost it a long time ago, andoften thought what a great piece of trivia if I remembered. Want toput that out as a question? Cheryl
I tried to find the term Cheryl was referring to and the only thing I could find was "genericize". I did find the following information on these kinds of words and a lengthy list:
The following list comprises those names which were originally created and used as trademarks, but which have subsequently become entirely synonymous with the common name of the product or service. If any of the original registrations for the trademarks appearing in this list remain in force, it is unlikely that the registered owners would be able to successfully enforce their exclusive rights against third parties.
- Allen wrench (or Allen key) - hexagonal screwdriver (A rarity among generic words, 'Allen wrench' is no longer trademarked, but is still capitalized because it is named after a company)
- aspirin - ASA (acetylsalicylic acid; remains as a registered trademark in many places around the world in the name of Bayer, but not in the United States)
- bikini - two-piece swimsuit for women
- brassiere - women's undergarment used for breast support
- cashpoint - Automated Teller Machine brandname belonging to Lloyds TSB
- cellophane - transparent paper
- celluloid - film material
- cola - soft drink; genericized part of Coca-Cola (see definition 2 at ) Arguably, the word "cola" had a weak claim to the originality required for trademark status in the first place, since it is a logical name for a beverage derived from the cola nut. In some parts of the United States, "coke" is a generic word for any soft drink.
- crock pot - Crock-Pot is sold by Rival Industries, but "crock pot" and "crockpot" are common synonyms used by cooks to describe slow cookers.
- dry ice - frozen carbon dioxide
- escalator - moving staircase
- granola - oat and fruit mixture
- heroin - diacetylmorphine; originally registered by Bayer as a pain reliever
- hula hoop - toy hoop; originally made of various materials, generic name trademarked by Wham-O when it was redesigned in plastic in the late 1950's
- jungle gym - play structure (from 'Junglegym')
- kiwi fruit - formerly known as "Chinese gooseberries"; new name not trademarked, but Zespri trademark later introduced for New Zealand kiwis
- LP - long playing record
- lanolin - purified, wax-like substance from sheep's wool
- laundromat - Originally a term developed by Westinghouse for washing machines, but usually considered a generic term for a coin operated laundry
- linoleum - floor covering
- margarine - butter substitute
- merry widow - strapless corset
- milk of magnesia - saline-type laxative; Phillip's
- mimeograph - reproduction machine
- petrol - its tradename when (before internal combustion engines were invented) it was sold in small bottles in chemists as a treatment for nits
- pilates exercise system - trademark formally cancelled by court in 2000
- plasterboard - formed gypsum building material
- pogo stick - bouncing stick (trademark was one word, 'Pogo')
- spandex - polyurethane fiber; an anagram of "expands" ; DuPont later introduced new trademark, Lycra
- tabloid - originally a type of medication
- tarmac (or tarmacadam) - road surfacing; the word tarmac is sometimes used to refer to airport runways, but properly it is the hardstanding or parking area that is the tarmac
- touch-tone - dual tone multi-frequency telephone signaling. AT&T states "formerly a trademark of AT&T"
- trampoline - sports equipment
- videotape - magnetic television recording medium (see 2 inch Quadruplex videotape)
- webster's dictionary - the publishers with the strongest link to the original are Merriam-Webster, but they have a trademark only on "Merriam-Webster", and other dictionaries are legally published as "Webster's Dictionary"  
- yo-yo - toy
- zeppelin - dirigible airship
- zip code - postal code (US)
- zipper - zip fastener
- Lava lamp - This originally derived from an alteration of the trademark Lava Lite, although lava lamp was subsequently registered as a trademark in the United Kingdom by Mathmos Limited.
- Montessori - Although capitalization of the name suggests trademark significance, it did not originate as a trademark.
- Nylon - synthetic polymer (polyamid) invented at DuPont.
- SPAM - This pork and ham product and trademark of Hormel Foods was the indirect origin of the electronic term of the same name. However, with reference to meat products, "spam" does not denote the generic.
And not a crescent wrench in the bunch!