Harry Lubcke suggested the name “Immy” be used, named after the “image orthicon tube” that was nicknamed the “Immy”. The Academy members liked it, but felt is should be more feminine, to match the statuette, so switched it to the name “Emmy”.
The statuette itself, of a winged woman holding an atom, was
designed in 1948 by TV engineer and editor Louis McManus. His wife,
Dorothy, served as the model for the statuette. Unlike the Academy
Award statuette, where only one design was considered, this design
was the 48th looked at by the Academy, with the previous 47 being
rejected. The idea behind the design is that the winged woman
represents the muse of art and the atom she’s holding represents
“the science of television”.
For his design, Louis McManus was awarded a “Special Award” Emmy in
the first year the Emmys were given out in 1948. His Emmy was not
the statuette he designed, but rather a plaque.