Monday, June 15, 2009

Fathers & Sons

In 1955 Ford Motor Company hired Marianne Moore to help name their newest car-model. The 67 year-old poet had some interesting suggestions. Imagine driving a car named "Utopian Turtletop" or "Andante Con Tropo." What about "The Anticipator"? The "Thunder Crester"? The "Silver Sword"? The "Regna Racer"? What exactly is a "Magigravue"? Or a "Turcotingo"? Would you expect a "Pastelogram" to get better gas mileage and good acceleration? I like "The Varsity Stroke" but it might be a bit preppy. She also suggested "Mongoose Civique" and "The Intelligent Whale" (which the car was almost as big as.) "The Resilient Bullet" sounds almost cool.

Ford didn't use any of Moore's suggestions, deciding instead to name the new car after Henry Ford’s son and heir. The Edsel. The question isn't why Ford Motor Company named the car Edsel, but why Henry Ford would give such a name to his son. Maybe he should have let the poet name him.

Marianne Moore appears five times in A Book of Ages. Henry Ford, Edsel's grandfather, appears seven times.

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