A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“No one looks back on their life and remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep” (7/23)
“Roses are red. Violets are blue. Vodka costs less than dinner for two” (7/23)
“If you don’t like the way I drive, stay off the sidewalk!” (7/23)
“I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally” (7/23)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (7/23)
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Entry from January 23, 2013
Bumper Thumper (minor automobile accident)

A “bumper thumper” is a minor automobile accident. A Lucky Strike cigarette advertisement in March 1957 featured invented names, and David Barton of the University of Illinois submitted “Bumper Thumper” (defined as “What is an absent-minded motorist?"). In November 1957, a newspaper comic strip called a car a “bumper thumper.” In August 1961, “bumper thumper” referred to the minor automobile accident itself.

Another term for a “bumper thumper” is a “fender bender.”


6 March 1957, Daily Northwestern (Evanston, IL), pg. 5, col. 2 ad:
WHAT IS AN ABSENT-MINDED MOTORIST?
Bumper Thumper
DAVID BARTON,
U. of ILLINOIS
(Lucky Strike cigarette ad—ed.)

10 November 1957, Denton (TX) Record Chronicle, “Etta Kett” comic strip, comic section, pg. ?:
HERE! GIVE THIS BUMPER THUMPER A GAS INJECTION WHILE I PHONE ETTA!

27 August 1961, Hutchinson (KS) News, “Centennial Gas War Makes Travelers Happy” by Jane Bauman, pg. 18, col. 5:
But up to Hamilton, Mo.—now on Highway 36, we haven’t seen a wreck—not even a bumper-thumper.

Google News Archive
24 July 1965, Portsmouth (NH) Times, pg. 10, col. 4:
Two Men Shaken Up
In Bumper-Thumper

Two men received apparently minor injuries Tuesday night in a traffic accident in New Boston.

Google News Archive
18 September 1967, Bryan (OH) Times, pg. 5, col. 2:
Minor Bumper-Thumper
A minor bumper-thumper occurring Friday morning was today’s lone traffic item listed on the police docket.

Google News Archive
19 October 1967, Bryan (OH) Times, pg. 16, col. 3:
Minor Bumper-Thumper
Is Lone Traffic Item

A minor bumper-thumper was the lone item occupying today’s traffic docket of the local police department.

13 May 1992, Boston (MA) Globe, “Ford on the road” by Michael Blowen, Living, pg. 42: ‎
They’ve introduced phrases such as “gawker blocker,” “bumper thumper” and “stall ‘n’ crawl” to the vernacular.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityTransportation • Wednesday, January 23, 2013 • Permalink