Time to 'Drum Up' Business?
(April 12, '12, 6:27 Ken Gassman)
(IDEX Online News)
– Ever wonder where the phrase “drum up business” came from? We use it all the time as a way of saying we want to stimulate our sales, especially if we are a specialty jeweler in the American market.

 

The phrase “drumming up business” originated in the U.S. during the 1800s, and was especially prevalent during the Civil War of 1861-1865.

 

Traveling salesmen kept their wares in a leather-clad box that was essentially a wooden frame with leather stretched over it. 

 

In an effort to let the owner of a home – usually a plantation in the South – know that they were coming up the lane, they would take out a set of drum stocks and begin drumming on their leather box. It had the sound of a muted snare drum.

 

In the Civil War, it was especially important for those traveling sales people to announce their presence well before ringing the doorbell:  in the South, they might be shot at, especially if the landowner thought they were a Yankee spy.

 

Today, sales people no longer keep their wares in a leather box, and they rarely make house calls. However, we still use the term “drumming up business.” 

 

And now you know!