The historical theory is one of the most successful and elaborated theories dealing with the referential behaviour of proper names. The aim of the article is mainly a negative one. The introduction presents a general point of view concerning proper names and their place within a language. The second and the third parts are devoted to an outline of a version of the historical theory; the main stress is placed on the well-known devices of the theory, i.e. the naming-relation and the communication chain of name uses. The fourth part contains several critical remarks concerning both of the devices: it is pointed out that the naming-relation is unable to explain the reference of proper names and that the idea of communication chain is vague and cannot serve to its proper aims.