I read in a magazine op-ed that originally bean counters tabulated votes which were cast by dropping a bean in a receptcle. Not validated. RJFJR 01:03, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
- I heard the etymology that it's a sailor word inherited from the British Navy. Tale is in the time of Drake they had a position for a junior procurer whose job was to get the best possible price for loading out beans (these being one-third the staple sea stew of salt pork, hardtack, and beans). Usually this was filled by an experienced sailor who knew what sort of beans, but on an occasion it was a lad of birth who'd never eaten a bean. Not knowing the difference, he pulled quotes for all beans of all types - not just navy, but field, fara, and castor. The castor beans were cheapest the hundredweight, and some say the beancounting lad kept the difference as the ship loaded out full tons of castor beans to feed the crew.
- Needless to say, first meal afloat, the ship came round and back to reload.Patent.drafter (talk) 15:26, 25 March 2014 (UTC)