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Doolittle and Dalley and other Comical Business Names

by Eric Shackle

More than 80 years ago, a Kidderminster, England estate agent, Edward Doolittle, invited his young assistant, Reginald Dalley, to become his business partner. Their firm still uses the marvellous name Doolittle and Dalley. An anagram of the name is Ideal, old, neatly told.

Another great business name was coined after Rodger Reid met and later married Marsha Wright in New Preston, Connecticut. Today, Reid and Wright is just the right name for their antiquarian book center, specialising in out-of-date books.

There's another firm named Reid and Wright Inc. It's a wholesale lumber and building products company in Central California. Bob Reid says "It was started in 1948 by Bob Reid (my father) and Bob Wright. It seems Bob Wright had $500 and my dad had a car."

Then there's the Funny Name Server which offers thousands of names, compiled after a laborious search of telephone directories in the New York area. Some of its best business names are:

  • Dyno-Mite Hooker Towing Svce Inc
  • The Belcher Co Of NY
  • "I Move The Earth" Dirt Cheap Inc
  • A Pane In The Glass
  • Three Ethnics & A Wasp Ltd
  • Beauty & The Beach
  • Body & Sole
  • Buy & Large
  • Allied Killer Force Inc
  • Disaster Masters Inc
  • Bash Gal Inc
  • My Family's Nuts
In the category Business Questions are listed: What Can I Do For You?, What Goes Around Comes Around Productions Ltd, The What Have You Done For Me Lately Co., What's Your Racquet? and Who.

And under the heading We Don't Want Your Business are Back By Monday, Be Right Back, Gone Fishing Marina and Gone Kiting.

The Funny Name webmaster is Kim Moser (what, you were expecting something funny? he asks), a 34-year-old New York computer programmer, whose other hobbies are photography, inline skating and fencing. He says his favorite anagram for Kim Moser is Mr Eskimo.

A year or so ago, the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced its Dubious Achievement Awards at a "big bash" at the Empire Garden restaurant in Boston's Chinatown, where 650 conference-goers celebrated 20 years of the National Trust's Main Street Center.

Winner of the Unusual Combination of Businesses award was this sign, found in Boston's Four Corners neighborhood: "RING MY BELL for water, ice, legal documents (divorce, etc.), solar energy products, video surveillance, security alarms."

Runners-up included:

  • Audie & Joyce Beauty Salon & Mini-Storage, Walla Walla, WA.
  • Fruit-Filled Ministries (storefront church and bakery), Talladega, AL.
  • El-Dee's Pet Shop/El-Dee's Bait Shop, Boston, MA.
  • Tanning, Saw Sharpening & Groceries, Clatskamie, OR.
  • Indian Spices & Appliances, Arlington, VA.
  • Meats & Movies, Broken Bow, OK.
The Savannah, IL winner of the Odd Business Names category was Poopy's Harley Davidson, whose sign boasted Prices Cheaper Than S—. Among the runners-up were two Boston hair salons, Oops! and Curl Up & Dye.

© 2001 Eric Shackle (
This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the author.

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