Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Hammer Name
The name Hammer is believed to have originated from two separate sources. The first, which relates to the Germanic or Jewish word “Hamer” which in this context is occupational as it translates to someone who uses or makes hammers. It can also be used euphemistically for a forceful person. The second source, suggest the surname Hammer is topographical, deriving its origin from medieval English word “hamm” which means a low-lying pastoral area by a river or stream.
Variations of this name include; Hammer, Hamer, Hamor, and Hammor among others. The variation in spelling of names during this time period can be attributed to a lack of continuity regarding guidelines for spelling which was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time.
One of the earliest records of any variation of the name Hammer is John le Hammer whose name is found listed in county of Sussex Pipe Rolls dated 1332. The Pipe Rolls often times called the “Great Rolls” were a series of financial records kept by the English Treasury originating with an order of King Henry I, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. They hold the distinction of being the oldest consecutive set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom. These records span a period of over 700 years and have proven invaluable to researches over the years. The name of Robert de Hamer of Hamer Hall appears in “Baines History of Lancashire”.
Hamer Hall was the family seat of the de Hamers, one of the oldest families in Lancashire. By the time “Baines History of Lancashire” was published, the de Hamers had been in possession of the manor known as Hamer Hall and attached property for over 500 years having received the property during the reign of King Richard II in the 14th century.
The first recorded immigrant to America bearing the surname Hammer or any variation of the spelling was Henrich Hammer who landed and settled in New York in 1709. Rinehart and Susan Hammer landed and settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1729.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Hammer are found in Norway, Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Hammer live in South Dakota.
There are many persons of note who bear the surname Hammer. Armand Hammer was an American businessman, physician, art collector, and philanthropist. Hammer attended Columbia College, located on the campus of Columbia University and received his B.A. In 1919, he then went on to medical school at Columbia where he received his M.D. In 1921. Hammer; however, never practiced medicine, he and his brothers took over their father’s pharmaceutical company. The brothers grew the company and it prospered. From this venture, Hammer moved on, eventually winding up at Occidental Petroleum where he became CEO. Through his philanthropy, he supported the arts, medicine, and education. One of his legacies is the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West.
Edward E. Hammer was an American engineer who was a pioneer in fluorescent lighting research. The contributions he made to technology relating to fluorescent lighting earned him more than 35 patents. In the 1970s, he led the development of General Electric energy efficient lamp in response to the energy crisis. In 2002 in recognition of his contributions, Hammer won the IEEE Edison Medal, he was also named an IEEE Fellow.
Major General Heathcote Hammer, CBE, DSO was a senior ranking officer in the Australian Army during World War II. For his meritorious service he received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in 1943. In 1944 he received a Bar to his DSO and in 1945 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
Julie Hammer is a retired senior ranking officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. She has the distinction of being the first woman to command an operational unit in the Royal Australian Air Force in addition to being the first woman promoted to one-star and two-star rank in the Australian Defense Force.
William Joseph Hammer was an American aviator and electrical engineer. In December 1879, he became Thomas Edison’s laboratory assistant; as such, he helped in the development of the incandescent light bulb. Due to his experience working in Edison’s lab, he became one of the early experts in electric power distribution and is credited with building the first sign for advertising using incandescent light bulbs. When the English Edison Electric Light company opened a central station in London, he was made chief engineer.
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