I find it quite interesting that we commonly employ what used to be a well know brand name to refer to any number of more recent brands of products. Some companies have complained and even sued to protect their brand but to no avail, since the name is firmly stuck in our everyday parlance. My list, compiled with help from friends and certainly not comprehensive, follows in no particular order with my own comments. And because some are rooted in brand names from decades ago, they are indeed “generational”.
Ace bandage – the first such elastic bandage was indeed made by “Ace” but over the years, the term has been used generically for a wide variety of other brands of elastic bandages.
Xerox – in my work I have often heard “Please xerox me a copy”, even though the machine used might be manufactured by Canon, Epson, Brother or any number of other companies.
Thermos – yes, this was the company that first manufactured the metal-cased double-walled glass “vacuum” container, but ever since, we still call any container to keep liquids hot or cold a “thermos”.
Frigidaire – the name of the manufacturer of the first functional refrigerator soon became genericized to refer to any refrigerator, no matter who the manufacturer was.
Granola – this used to be a name brand first marketed by Kellogg, but the term is now used as a generic to refer to all of the cereals and bars made from rolled oats, nuts and other natural ingredients.
Band-aid – the name of the original adhesive bandage but everyone uses the term for any number of similar items made by different manufactures like Curad, McKesson or Nexcare.
Windex – not sure if you do, but I use this term generically for any “glass cleaner” that I happen to be using.
Clorox – simple chlorine bleach of course, but we refer to other brands not as “chlorine bleach” but simply “Clorox”.
Super Glue – many manufactures now make this unbelievably effective adhesive, but I still refer to them all generically as “Super Glue”.
Kleenex – “Could you hand me a kleenex please?” This “facial tissue” could be made by any one of dozens of manufactures, but to me it’s all “Kleenex”.
Winnebago – I can’t begin to tell you how many times when driving I have complained about “being stuck behind a huge Winnebago”, when really it could have been any one of a number of RV brands.
Stetson – maybe the first hat producer specializing in wide brimmed western hats, now lots of other such hats are referred to as simply “stetsons.”
Levis – there are a plethora of denim jeans manufacturers but many people refer to them all as “Levis”.
Chapstick – instead of asking a friend for a bit of his or her “lip balm”, we generally say simply “chapstick”, in spite of other brands like Nivea or Burt’s Bees.
Bubble wrap – a trademark name owned by Sealed Air Corporation but now genericized to apply to a broad selection of similar packing and shipping products.
Jacuzzi – are you going to buy a circulating hot tub for your back yard? It could be made by other manufacturers but “jacuzzi” what we usually call them all.
Crock-Pot – a slow cooker brand that could also be made by Rival, Hamilton Beach, Cuisinart or West Bend, but they are all crock-pots to me.
Zamboni – other manufactures make ice resurfacers for hockey rinks but it seems that they’re always called a “Zamboni”.
Scotch Tape – yes, really “cellophane tape” made not only by 3M but but by many others. But to me and millions of other people it’s always “scotch tape”.
Tupperware – the originator of the sturdy refrigerator and freezer flexible plastic containers with the handy snap-on lids but many people now use the term generically to describe other container brands.
White-out – properly called “correction fluid” but is often referred to generically as “White-out”, just one of its brand names.
TV Dinner – I think that Swanson first marketed quick frozen dinners under this brand name and ever since, we have used the term “tv dinner” for other brands of frozen microwave dinners.
Aspirin – the name trademarked by Bayer for acetylsalicylic acid but now used generically for all brands of this wonder drug.
Vaseline – regardless of what brand of petroleum jelly we are using we usually refer to them all by the original brand name – “Just put some vaseline on it…”
Jello – yes, this was and still is a brand name but “gelatin dessert” is sold under many brands, all referred to with the original brand name.
Sharpie – a favorite name brand of permanent marker. There are others now but it seems we refer to them all as a “sharpie”.
Saran Wrap – yes, it could be “Glad Wrap” or any other stretchy cling-wrap for kitchen use, but I call them all after the original.
Caterpillar – this may not ring a bell for everyone but I’ve heard this term used to describe any “crawler” tractor with continuous or moving tracks, whether made by John Deere, International, Case or Caterpillar itself.
Google (verb) – It doesn’t matter what search engine you are using, you are still “googling”.
Elmer’s glue – this ubiquitous white multi-purpose adhesive could be made by anyone but to me it will always be “Elmer’s Glue”, the original brand.
Dutch or Ajax cleanser – Right or wrong I have always referred to any abrasive cleaner as “Dutch Cleanser” or “Ajax”, although there are many other brands.
Skilsaw – the brand name of the first handheld rotary saw produced in the 1930’s, now employed generically for any number of brands of such saws. “Hand me the skilsaw” sounds much more natural than “Hand me the rotary saw.”
Tums – even though they may actually be Rolaids or another brand of antacid tablets, they are often referred to as Tums, the first and maybe most popular of such chewable tablet. “My stomach hurts, do you have a Tums?”
Walkman – A portable cassette player, later a cd player made by Sony, but “walkman” was used for similar players made by other manufacturers.
Magic Marker – Although a name brand, it has now become a generic term to describe any number of board or paper markers.
I-phone – Hmmm, maybe to a lesser degree than many of the above but I’ve heard brands of smart phones other than Apple still referred to as “iphones”.