TaB soda was named by an IBM mainframe – now it makes sense. The name was supposed to relate to keeping “tabs” on your weight, rather than being an acronym for “totally artificial beverage.”

To obtain a list of potential names, William Mannen, chief programmer for data processing, programmed the company’s IBM 1401 mainframe computer to print all possible four-letter word combinations containing a vowel or vowel-sounding letter. The results took a day to print and contained more than 300,000 possible combinations. This list was narrowed down to 600 possibilities, which were then given to the legal department to check against existing trademarks. After legal narrowed the list again, TaB was chosen from among the final two dozen contenders. Why? Because it was distinctive and easy to remember, and it projected the desired image.

tab list of names

(via @melissaterras)