What country did the word "drummer",meaning traveling salesman,originate from? Thanks!
My guess would be England, where the word "drummer" is criminal slang for someone who breaks into houses during the day. (He or she "drums" on the door to make sure there's nobody home). It doesn't seem too much of a stretch to see how the word could become slang for salesperson.
Actually, I'd presume it'd be a modification of the sense of the verb, "to drum," meaning "to stir-up" or "to solicit." Thus, a drummer, qua traveling salesman, would drum up business. In that light, the slang seems equally appropriate to have orignated in any of the English speaking countries, whether England or America/Canada or Australia. That "drummer" is English slang for "burgelar" actually diminishes the likelihood, to my mind, that this sense would also have originated (as in parallel), and I'd speculate more toward the US.
Frank Pierce
I've read that early "salesmen" or peddlers would arrive in a town, on foot, go to the central square or some typical congregating place, and beat a drum to "drum up" an audience. Then the sales pitch to the admiring mob.

It would make good sense to assume that these people were "drummers" in the eyes of many.

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