Private eye is a popular slang term for a
popularized in the media for over 150 years. The name implies that investigators see all and in that respect, is very accurate. However, learning the history of the name goes deeper into the past of this colorful
Private Eye History
Private Investigator Myths and Reality
This name found its source from the original logo of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, founded by Allan Pinkerton in the mid 1800’s. The logo featured a central eye and the words “We Never Sleep”. This logo gained recognition as an icon of the time and the work of the early Pinkerton investigators became legendary and even notorious. People began calling Pinkertons by the name Eye or Private Eye, being that the logo was prominently featured on badges, uniforms and advertising media. Even though the profession has advanced far beyond the Pinkertons agency, the name stuck and continues to be an regularly used term for investigators to this very day.
Private Detective Details
The symbol of the eye is very fitting for an investigator, who must use their senses to gather intelligence for their client. Investigators must train themselves to pick up every detail, since evidence may be difficult for an untrained person to recognize. A thorough private investigator will always be alert on the job and attentive to every small nuance of their work. This pays homage to the original Pinkertons legend stating that investigators indeed never sleep… At least not on the job!
Many modern investigation firms still use eyes on their respective logos. The eye is a symbol of knowing and seeing, the very aspects so crucial to a successful resolution of any case assignment. Surveillance is based on the concept of seeing without being seen; which is one of the inherent concepts of the investigator profession. Luckily for the general public, strict privacy laws in most communities have limited what investigators can observe using covert tactics…
Private investigators have come a long way since the early Pinkerton days. However, the original concept of an all knowing, all seeing professional has endured and guides the operations of many successful investigation agencies today.