It's been asked MANY times. Even the "newbies" here at Onset ask the question:

"What’s with the name HOBO?"

One of our veteran employees, Operations Analyst Gregg Daly explains:

“HOBO is not an acronym…at least it didn’t start out that way. The owners of our company had an affinity for all things train related, so many of our early products had railroad themes: StowAway, Greenline, BoxCar, HandCar, and of course...HOBO.

Historically, "hobos" were train tagalongs, people who survived by traveling from place to place in boxcars looking for odd jobs to do along the way. They stayed hidden…in the background, as they completed tasks they were asked to do, and they performed well.

This was the idea behind naming our logger a HOBO. It works silently in the background, 24 hours a day, doing a job folks need to get done, but which they couldn’t easily or practically do by themselves."

"Years later, we published a newsletter called Honest Observer. Someone came up with the idea: ‘Honest Observer By Onset’ as a HOBO acronym. Although clever, it's not the true origin."

The early 'Honest Observer' newsletter


This, Daly explained, makes the name "HOBO" a "backronym.

"Today the HOBO name is to data loggers what Kleenex is to facial tissues. We’ve become an industry standard. The railroad themes are no longer in our product names…except HOBO, which will live on as long as we can help it!”

For more information on Onset, including our history and timeline of our HOBO products since 1981, check out our company pages.

To check out all of our HOBO data loggers for monitoring indoor, outdoor, and underwater environments, click here.

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