doorbuster noun earlier than 1917

doorbuster noun earlier than 1917

OED editors are investigating the word doorbuster, referring to a special limited-time sale which is designed to draw in customers. The earliest evidence we have found thus far dates to 1917:

1917 Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Republican 28 Aug. 6 (advt.) Here are Wednesday’s eight o’clock door-busters. It is bargains such as these, that are sold for tiny fractions of their original prices, that bring people down to the store doors.

However, a 1925 article relates an anecdote suggesting  that the word doorbuster may have existed as early as 1895; the ‘inquiring reporter’ pins its origins to the Philadelphia-based department store Wanamaker’s, 30 years earlier:

1925 Davenport (Iowa) Democrat & Leader 20 Apr. 15 (via

Is there any truth to this story? An earlier quotation could help us find out. Can you help us find one?

Posted by OED_Editor on 20 November 2012 15.33
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