Etymological Foundations of the term 'Jerry built'
Trumpet from the jerry built history of science rooftop of the Royal Society in LondonPublic Domain
Robert Chambers. Anonymous author of 'The Vestiges of creation'.
Myth - The phrases: ‘jerry houses,’ ‘jerry-builder’, ‘jerry built’, first emerged in 1869, but their etymological root remains unknown.
Fact –. The phrase ‘jerry houses’ – in terms of shoddily built homes - dates back at least 18 more years than previously known. See Chambers’ Papers for the People (1851)Industrial Investments and Associations. London: Chambers and Chambers. Page 9. Moreover, the etymological root of 'jerry built, is 'Tom and Jerry houses' and 'Tom and Jerry Shops', which were derogatory names given for small pubs in 19th century England.
The origin of "Jerry built" comes from "Jerry Houses" From earlier use of "Tom and Jerry houses", which were small pubs of ill repute (as opposed to traditional inns). Tom and Jerry house were residential houses. Later to be known as "public houses" - hence the root of the English 'pub'.
Robert Chambers, a gentleman geologist, friend and correspondent of Charles Darwin, was a prolific author and major 19th century publisher, and one of three naturalists newly discovered (see Sutton 2104: Nullius in Verba: Darwin's Greatest Secret) to have read and then cited Patrick Matthew's (1831) prior-publication of the theory of natural selection. In 1842 he went on to anonymously author the best selling 'Vestiges of Creation' , which was a heretical book on evolution that Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace both said was a huge influence on their own work and in preparing the public for accepting the theory of natural selection between 1842 and 1858. Chambers even gave Darwin a copy of his secretly authored book in 1847- leading Darin to write in private correspondence to his friend and botanical mentor Joseph Hooker that he knew Chambers was its secret author. Most significantly, Chambers was a friend and correspondent of Darwin's geological mentor Charles Lyell. Chambers was also mentored in his political career by Patrick Matthew’s Scottish publisher Adam Black – another, who we know definitely read Matthew's book!
In 1859, Darwin sent Chambers a pre-publication copy of the Origin of Species, asking him to review it. When he wrote that book review in 1859, Chambers was the first person to second-publish Matthew's unique and original term for his discovery 'natural process of selection.' Darwin had, in fact, shuffled those same four words into 'process of natural selection', a unique term that he employed many times in the Origin of Species.
When confronted by Matthew in the press in 1860, Darwin famously claimed that neither he nor any naturalist known to him had read Matthew's (1831) book, and that he had discovered natural selection independently of anyone else. Alfred Wallace claimed also to have immaculately conceived the prior-published theory of 'natural selection'. The rest is credulous Darwinist Dysology, upon which squats the embarrassingly jerry built intellectual squalor of the pseudo-scholarly Darwin Industry controlled history of the greatest scientific discovery ever made.
Chambers's use of the term 'Jerry Houses' almost certainly has its etymological roots in phrase 'Tom and Jerry Houses' which were small pubs of ill repute, literally inside houses, and named after two Regency period fictional characters from the hugely popular book known colloquially as the Adventures of Tom and Jerry - a book about two drunken London rakes. The author Pierce Egan first penned that book in 1820. The image below is of the 1822 edition. These Tom and Jerry houses, also known as 'Tom and Jerry shops'came into being after the British 'Beer Act' of 1830 opened a free market for the sale of beer, which was often safer to drink in those days of cholera than city water.
Perhaps Chambers was associating poorly built houses with the type of dwelling that served beer - or he may have been making a duel imaginative association with drunken, hapless Tom and Jerry type's being builders and developers of slums.
Biographies of Chambers all borrow heavily - without citation - from his autobiography. It can be read for free online.