Yellow text around an illustration of an eye on a green background
“Private Eye” is a popular slang term for professional investigators, widely used for over 150 years. It implies that investigators see everything, but the history of the name roots back to the profession of detectives. The eye originated from the logo of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Allan Pinkerton found this agency in the mid-1800s. This logo became an icon, and the work of the early Pinkerton investigators became infamous. Because the logo appeared on badges, uniforms, and advertising media, people started calling the Pinkertons “Private Eye.” Today, the term identifies most professional investigators.
Many modern investigation businesses use the eye on their logos. The eye symbolizes knowledge and seeing, and it fits the role of investigator. They use their senses to gather evidence and successfully solve any case. Although the profession has evolved far beyond the Pinkerton agency, the concept of an all-seeing, all-knowing professional led to many successful investigation companies today.
Private Investigator. (2009). Private eye. https://www.private-investigator-info.org/private-eye.html