(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!