Edison Uses Klaxons to Warn Men of Fire (Apr, 1916)

Klaxon was founded in 1908. By 1916 the name had already become genericized. I know because I googled it.

Edison Uses Klaxons to Warn Men of Fire

A LITTLE more than a year ago the big plant of the Edison Storage Battery Company of East Orange, N.J., burned to the ground.

If another fire should occur today the alarm would be sounded with thirty Klaxon automobile horns in-stalled in various parts of the buildings to warn the employees.

The Klaxons which are a part of the Edison Fire Alarm System are the same kind that Mr. Edison uses on his personal automobiles and that are used today by more than 600,000 other automobilists.

So general is the use of the Klaxon that the word has come to mean “auto horn”—and many horns that are not Klaxons are sold as Klaxons to unsuspecting motorists. The way to be sure is to look for—and find—the Klaxon Name-plate.

There is a Klaxon for every kind and size of automobile—for trucks, motor-cycles and motor-boats—from the Hand Klaxonet at $4 to the large Klaxon at $20.

Klaxons are made only by the Lovell-McConnell Mfg. Co., Newark, N. J.


  1. Myles says: October 7, 201010:06 am

    If somone was to sell a fake Klaxxon, wouldn’t they include a fake nameplate?

  2. Kosher Ham says: October 7, 201010:47 am

    My father has one of those hand driven klaxon horns; I used it to provide an automobile horn sound for a high school musical.

  3. slim says: October 7, 20101:48 pm

    Two blasts: dive, dive. Three blasts: surface, surface, surface.

  4. jayessell says: October 7, 20102:22 pm

    5 blasts with continous bell:

    Both showcases and one million dollars.


  5. jayessell says: October 7, 20102:27 pm

    Meteor damage to the spaceship?


  6. fluffy says: October 7, 20103:00 pm

    I never had any idea that klaxon was a brand name to begin with!

    Then again, how many people realize “Elevator” and “Escalator” once were?

  7. Firebrand38 says: October 7, 20103:49 pm

    fluffy: Elevator as a brand name? I’m gonna call urban legend on that one until I see evidence to the contrary. http://www.theelevatorm…
    If you count on Wikijunior they don’t give a source for their assertion about Elevator changing to elevator. They also say the elevator was invented by Elisha Otis which is bunk as well.

    I say that this 1882 patent puts the lie to that. You can see little “e” elevators used throughout the description

    Escalator on the other hand was the subject of a court case when it officially lost its status as a trademark

  8. hwertz says: October 7, 20106:13 pm

    This is what lead right to.. no I’m just kidding 8-).
    Wow, I had no idea Klaxon was originally a brand name either…

    OK, so here’s a short quote from http://en.wikipedia.org…
    (“Escalator” was trademarked in 1900, this case was in 1950)
    “Thus, when Otis Elevator Company advertised that it offered ‘the latest in elevator and escalator design’ it was using the well known generic term elevator and Otis’s trademark ‘Escalator’ for moving staircases in the same way, the Trademark Office and the Courts concluded that if Otis used their trademark in that generic way they could not stop Westinghouse from calling its moving staircases ‘escalators’, and a valuable trademark was lost through ‘genericization.'”
    To me this says pretty well that elevator was never trademarked, I’m sure it would have come up during this court case and been mentioned somewhere in this article. I hadn’t realized escalator had been a trademark either but it sure was.

  9. jayessell says: October 7, 20106:20 pm

    Sorry to be off topic, but if we’re talking about
    escalators, see this:


  10. John Savard says: October 7, 20107:27 pm

    Otis did invent something very important, though: the “safety elevator”. With his design, if the cable holding an elevator up broke, spring-actuated jaws held closed by the weight of the elevator would open, preventing it from falling down the elevator shaft.

    This made it reasonably safe to use elevators to carry people, instead of using them only as dumbwaiters.

  11. Firebrand38 says: October 7, 20108:04 pm

    John Savard: And if you follow the link I provided under Otis’s name you can read the patent.

  12. JeffK says: October 10, 20108:32 pm

    Is it just me or does that ad look like a 1950s ad? The headline font or its size or both – it really looks unusual to me for a pre-WWII advertisement.

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