Via Ben Schmidt, the term becomes common only in the 1970s:
I’d like to see a detailed look at actual journal practices, but my personal sense is that editorial review was the norm until fairly recently, not review by a team of outside referees. In 1956, for instance, the American Historical Review asked for only one submission copy, and it seems the same was true as late as 1970. I doubt they made the photocopies themselves. Schmidt seems to suggest that the practices of government funders nudged the academic professions into more formal peer review with multiple referee reports.
Further research is needed (how about we ask some really old people?), at least if peer review decides it is worthy of publication. Frankly I suspect such work would stand a better chance under editorial review.
In the meantime, here is a tweet from the I didn’t know she was on Twitter Judy Chevalier:
I have just produced a 28-page “responses to reviewer and editor questions” for a 39-page paper.
I’d rather have another paper from Judy.
By the way, scientific papers are getting less readable.