The term "Jerry" apparently dates back to the First World War and maybe even
earlier. Although at first glance it seems to be a corruption of "German" it
is more likely a reference to the shape of the helmet worn by German troops.
The helmet was said to look like a jerry, which was slang for a chamber pot.
Of course, once the term "Jerry" arose, it stuck and was used with great
frequency in the second world war.
A Jerrycan was so termed because the first ones used by the British army
were liberated from captured German vehicles. The design was found to be far
superior to the cans used by the British and so the design was copied
exactly and put into production for the British and later American forces.
Naturally, due to its apparent German derivation, it was called a "Jerry
can" which later became "jerrycan". Oddly enough, it was actually an Italian
"Don Stauffer" wrote
There was something out there about the Brits calling chamberpots "jerries"
and the name being in reference to the German Stahlhelm helmet. It would be
interesting to see if "jerry" was used before 1915 because there was no
Stahlhelm before that.
In WWII the German metal liquid container was superior to the initial
British designs. The British - and Americans - reverse engineered the
German cans, Jerry can being a natural reference to its origins. BTW, the
US tried to imprint the term "blitz can" initially but it didn't stick. I
guess they realized that "Liberty Can", "Victory Can", or "Democracy Can"
probably wouldn't roll of the tongue either, though "kraut kan" has a ring
To all those whining wimps, who continually bitch and moan about the posting
of "off topic" posts:
This "off-topic" thread was far more educational, and arguably, far more
applicable, to scale modeling....than most "on topic" threads.