Pete Jack wrote:[quote} (which the Yanks call 'zerk fittings' for some reason)
Possibly the same reason Brits call pipe wrenches "Stilsons"
A Google search came up with: Origin of
Oscar U. Zerk †1968 American (Austrian-born) inventor
First Known Use: 1926
1968 was the year he died.[/quote]
sure, (and Brits are likewise prone to use 'Hoovers' and 'Sellotape' instead of 'vacuum cleaners' and 'clear adhesive tape' etc) but note also that ball-sealed grease fittings were not Mr Zerks original idea, for example this advertisement;
predates his patent which (I think) used a different shape which allowed better sealing at an angle.
However I can't help but wonder if (like the ad above does) using almost any other word for these fittings would be preferred simply because it neatly avoids the phrase 'grease nipples' which surely would have been avoided by the somewhat prudish folk in some parts of the world. I note that the perfectly normal British English word 'titbit' was considered far too risqué on your side of the pond and became (deliberately as a part of editorial policy in newspapers and magazines I believe) 'tidbit' instead. I think there are many other examples of similar things creeping into American English, out of some misplaced sense of wanting to avoid any words that could possibly construed as 'rude' in some way.
I recently discovered that all kinds of books written in British English are actually translated
before publication in the US...
The Harry Potter books are a case in point. Divided by a common language? Could be!