WAS TONTY PIZZA BEHIND THIS?
- Washington, Douglass Commonwealth
You see the same process with food. For example in the US Jell-O and Popsicle are brand names, but even generic products get called by those names.As well as farseers and raycookers, there's another source of alternative names.
I don't know whether this will get covered in your alternate company histories, but another source of technology names is brand names that become so ubiquitous that they're treated as synonymous with the tech itself. Hoover is probably the obvious OTL example, while others have noticed that some people seem to use the term iPhone to describe any and all smartphones. Similarly with iPad and tablet. Sellotape is another one. Kindle, perhaps, too.
So, in another world, could another company be so all pervasive in a certain field to ensure their name becomes (for many) the name of of the kit? Probably only for certain items. It needs to be common. As in "used in nearly every house" common. Any less, and the brand may not enter popular consciousness. Also, it need to be new. It is unlikely that the collective masses will decide to name an electric oven after a market leader, because they've all had ovens already, just powered by other means. Unlikely isn't impossible, but it is still unlikely.
Maybe a brand of fridge? Do we all take the milk out of the smeg in another TL? My thoughts seem to be convinced to the kitchen. Washing machines, tumble dryers and microwaves are other potential things for names. Perhaps cameras?
Putting such terminology in organically can be any issue, mind. Anybody can write that the hero "climbed aboard his autovelo/velocipede and roared off into the night". In other cases, it's sometimes harder to avoid an explanatory footnote.
No TL is likely to have more than one or two of these terms. They're not overly common, but since wisely, they might help add flavour.
I tried this myself, in a previous bit of writing. Given the fact that literally nobody mentioned it, I'm not convinced it was a success. In Let Them Talk, I had a power cut hit a Labour Party Conference. Jim Laurie then went to the piano "under the lights of a thousand Nokias". This seemed to hit the mark. A brand leader who, if they'd played the switch to smartphones better, could have sewn up the market. Might not have replaced "mobile", but it could have done. Obviously, in OTL, they fumbled that move, so well never find out. In an ATL, though?
It's fitting that you've written this article, @Thande, because alternate names is something I always consider to be a particular skill of yours. Another SLP writer who (imho) excels at this is @Mumby, who might recognise two of the examples used in my post. Whether he invented the terms or not, his writing was where I saw them first.