Why Are Detectives Called Private Eyes?

A detective is nicknamed a private eye from the earliest detective agency, The Pinkerton Agency.

The Pinkerton Agency

The Pinkerton Agency was formed in 1850 in the United States of America by Glasgow, Scotland born Alan Pinkerton.

Alan Pinkerton

Alan Pinkerton moved to the USA in 1840 where he worked as a Cooper in Dundee, Illinois. However he developed an interest and talent for detection and formed the famous agency.

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In 1861 they foiled an attempted assassination on the President, Abraham Lincoln during a train journey from Philadelphia to Washington.

Pinkerton Detectives helped to track down outlaws such as Jesse James and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

The Pinkerton Detectives were identified by a badge with their logo of an eye with the phrase We Never Sleep. Hence the slang words private eye.

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