What’s the story behind Metal Potato? Not the company—the name.

It’s a question we get asked almost daily; sometimes, we are asked several times a day. And that’s exactly how we want it to be.

Many companies are named after a founder, like Tiffany (founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany). Others have names derived from the 1900s era of “ZIPCO, RAMCO, GENERICO.” But when we founded Metal Potato, we knew that we didn’t really fit into any of that. Our history was non-existent and all of the good “co” names were taken.

Besides, Our head honcho wasn’t big on using his own name for the company. For one, he said, it didn’t accurately reflect the entire team of people involved.

Instead, in an inspired bid add a touch of Camelot to the name, we had a contest to build medieval-style trebuchets. The winner—whoever could launch their projectile the farthest into the English Channel—would take home the coveted trophy of our company name.

The contest was close; the competition fierce. We came within a few meters of being dubbed Waxed Pumpkin Web Design. But alas, wax is a slippery foe. As it turns out, it’s not the best substance to coat your pumpkin with—especially if your trebuchet is made from a wool blanket and PVC pipe. The winning projectile was of course a metal potato. Technically, it was a cast of a potato that one of our UI design guys made from molten aluminium.

Not surprisingly, a ball of aluminium really flies when you hurl it through the air.

Try as they might, every challenger after that failed. That aluminium imprint of a vegetable was unstoppable. We estimate it went a good 200 meters into the channel, but recovery efforts were futile.

So that’s the story of the Metal Potato. Just kidding.

That’s the story we like to tell people. Because let’s be honest—when you’re asked a question multiple times per week, a ton of alternate, infinitely more interesting scenarios occur.

The reality is a bit different—we simply had a stroke of good luck and succeeded in creating a random, memorable business name from a few six weeks worth of coffee and brainstorming sessions in Plymouth. The breakthrough finally came from our friends at FotoPhoto.

And that’s just as well.

Turns out the reality is much more relatable to other businesses than a strange story about medieval vegetable tossing. It’s also a lesson that any company can have an exciting name, no matter where you start from.