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smitty

smitty n. a type of automobile muffler known for its (powerful or resonant) sound. Etymological Note: Probably from the “Smithy” muffler brand. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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7 comments
  • Out here in the wild and wooly west-of-the Mississippi we preferred, for the most part to simply call them steel-packs and glass-packs. Out here a similar distortion of brand names(2)occurred similar to the (S)smitty phenom. They were deep-tones and mellow-tones, both were definite brand names. I believe Belond used the Deep-Tone name. By the mid ‘50s Belond was considered one of the primier makers of straight-thru mufflers as well as complete dual systems. I knew that the term smitty meant a type of muffler to some people in some areas but out here it meant a brand of many seen in catalogs and at an occasional store that chose to stock them. Will be sending more comments about inputs of [dckj!@erols.—], Ellen Barry @Old Orchard Beach and Jim Mc Phail 21Jan’06.

  • I too am trying to find “deep tone” Smithy mufflers. I had them on my ‘36 Ford in 1950 my ‘40 Merc in 1952 and finally on my ‘47 Merc in 1955. They were very deep and throaty rapping only when you backed off. They were as recognizable as one would recognize a Harley from other bikes. They were in fact, steel packs. Smithy also offered “bullet” tip extensions. The sound was incredible. They never failed to turn heads! I would like to find a pair of each for my “48 Merc today in 2008

  • I had Smittys on my 51 merc. Smitty was a brand name. It was filled with SAND!. That’s why it sounded like it did! I have a pair of Speakers that are sand filled to take out sound discoloration. They are still good after 40 years!The sand is what does the trick!

  • Good show, Bob. I think you have pretty much completed the circle on the usage and of the word “smitty”. Your knowledge on this plus the comments of those above prove exactly the definition at the top of this discussion including the Etymological(whatever that is) Note which right then and there stated the probability that the “smitty” usage probably was derived from the Smithy brand.
    Although it was mispronounced, misspelled and used in more limited areas of the country it could go into a category containing other brand names that became accepted misnomer names for TYPES of things. Examples: crescent wrench, frigidaire, vise grips.
    Actually, now that I try to think of more examples it seems to be a pretty exclusive club.
    “Smitty” has long been used as a nick-name for anyone named Smith so it is understandable that it would be used as a nick-name for a “Smithy” brand muffler and then used as a generic name for mufflers similar to it.

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