What’s the origin of “- ola” in Victrola, Crayola, movieola, payola?
I had assumed they all started with Victrola Orthographic Phonographs made by the Victor Talking Machine Company from 1906 through 1929.
But then I found this tidbit:
“Crayola was named by Edwin Binney’s wife alice combining craie french for chalk, withe the first part of oleaginous, for the oily paraffin was used. 1903”
Note that Victrola’s records were also made with paraffin wax.
So I searched for Victrola dates and couldn’t find when exactly Victor started using the term Victrola. Some Ebay items say “Victrola needle case - 1904”, but they may have been applying a generic term not actually on the object.
Then it occurred to me that the cast-iron Movieola machines might be earlier. They had photographs on a rotating “flipbook”, viewed through a slot in an arcade machine.
But I can’t find anything at all on them.
Payola, of course ties to Victrola, but perhaps there were other “- olas” I’ve forgotten about inbetween.
The Oxford English Dictionary thinks that “-ola” started with the Pianola, a type of player-piano that was first sold in 1901. Their source was an article in a 1961 journal called “American Speech”
The Movieola didn’t come into being until 1929.
The idea for Crayola brand crayons may have come about in 1906, but you need to check to see when they were first sold under that name.
I’d recommend a search of Italian suffixes to determine if “ola” has some sort of qualitative aspect to it.
Just sounds eye-tie to me.
Just a few more for the research department, if it ever comes back to work.
Actually I think that -ola originated when some one wanted to add a odd non existant suffix to some odd curse word and who ever the cursing was directed at thought -ola was kinda catchy.
Don’t forget the famous “Godfather II” character, Johnny Ola. He worked for Hyman Roth and always wore an orange suit.
He was portrayed by Dominic Chianese, who is now on “The Sopranos”
Ola just means little in Italian.
Cupola is a little cup or small dome.
My understanding is that “ola” is a diminutive suffix often seen in botanical or biological descriptions (like areola). Apparently the suffix was used with a large number of products starting in about the 1880s. Perhaps in part the success of coca cola had something to do with this though it has nothing to do with the suffix.
The pianola seems to be a late comer to this commercial application of the suffix. With the later success of the victrola who’s inventor said it was a combination of the words victor and viola, the suffix became associated with music and became an obligatory ending to many devices. Motorola, for instance, signified that the company made car radios.
Payola came into being during the 20s describing payoffs from record companies to radio stations before becoming a term of general usage. Popularization of that term started a wider usage with terms such as crapola.
Are you sure of your date? I was under the impression that radio stations played only live music until the very late 1930s, perhaps even the 1940s. (I vaguely remember that the network faced a terrible predicament regarding the re-broadcast of the Hindenburg disaster because it was not considered appropriate to use recorded material on the air.)
(I am not questioning the meaning or origin of payola, only the dating.)
To echo Tom, most dictionaries use 1938 as the earliest use of “payola”. Most Americans remember it from the 1959-60 payola scandals which sent some DJ’s to prison. Ned correctly asserts that
. The first recorded usage of “crapola” I can find is 1961, which would certainly fall in line with Ned’s theory.
Your right, the record scandals were later. It should have been late 30s.
I agree that in a perfect world, payola wouldn’t exist, but what is so bad about it? If a DJ accepts money in exchange for playing an ad, no one complains. But if he accepts money for playing a song, suddenly he’s a horrible person.
If the DJ announced before/after each record: “The record company paid us $2000 this week to play that record” then everything would be ok.