"Spoke" as derived from the rods that connect the hub of a bicycle wheel to it's rim.
Hub and spoke systems have been around since before deregulation. It's just that once deregulation occurred the U.S. carriers, who were operating in many high density markets, were able to capitalize on their license to compete in virtually any market.
Before deregulation (1978/1979), carriers still pieced together hub and spoke operations. United, American and TWA operated Chicago as a hub (as much as they were allowed). Delta and Eastern competed in Atlanta with hub operations. TWA had mini-hub operations in Pittsburgh and Kansas City. United, Continental and Western in Denver.
And, of course, international carriers have used their "home town" airports to coordinate connecting flights. London, Frankfurt, Paris, Tokyo, to name a few.