Author Topic: How did Purdue University get the nickname "Boilermakers"?  (Read 931 times)

Butch

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While cleaning up our basement, I ran across some old VCR videos that I hadn't digitized.  I found the Clear Block Production "The Former Chicago & Eastern Illinois  And Monon Routes" video =>  http://www.trainvideodepot.com/Clear-Block-Productions - CSX's Indiana Main Lines Volume 2  .  This 45 second clip  explains =>

Rick

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Interesting


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monon_rr

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Re: How did Purdue University get the nickname "Boilermakers"?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2018, 09:13:57 PM »
The colors were chosen to represent the four major colleges on the line:

Depauw/Purdue - Black/Gold
Wabash/Indiana - Red/Gray

If I recall correctly - the term Boilermakers came about prior to the Monon shops being located in Lafayette.

Good stories to tell that sound nice but neither one factually correct.

Butch

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Re: How did Purdue University get the nickname "Boilermakers"?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2018, 06:57:31 AM »
This is why I majored in math rather than history.  I am not smart enough to figure out which source provides the correct version of the story since I wasn't there to witness the event myself.  This may be the reason I enjoy history so much :)

oh5oh

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Re: How did Purdue University get the nickname "Boilermakers"?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2018, 08:40:11 AM »
From the Boilermakers.org website:

"In 1889, Purdue's football team traveled to Crawfordsville, Indiana, to play Wabash College, whom they defeated 18-4. Wabash students and the people of Crawfordsville were devastated by the defeat. According to one correspondent from the era, the town began referring to the Purdue team as "a great big burly gang of corn-huskers," "rail-splitters," "foundry molders," and "log-haulers." One newspaper reporter wrote this line: "A blacksmith they had would come into the Wabash boys like a mogul engine and the more they choked him the happier he seemed to be." Over the next few years, Purdue's reputation did not dim, and when their team gave Wabash College a 44-0 drubbing in 1891, the local press wrote wildly about the carnage. One sports writer for the Daily Argus headlined his story "Slaughter of Innocents," with the line under that reading, "Wabash Snowed Completely Under by the Burly Boiler Makers from Purdue." By the next football season, the name had stuck. Ever since, Purdue's teams have been known as the Boilermakers."

Ed Kyle

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Re: How did Purdue University get the nickname "Boilermakers"?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2018, 12:30:48 PM »
44-0 was a real blowout in 1891.  Back then, long before the forward pass was allowed, before Pop Warner invented the single-wing, touchdowns were only 4 points with a 2 point conversion kick possible.  Field goals were 5 points, but difficult thanks to the heavy, nearly-round ball.  Yardage was gained the hard way, or by quick-kicking downfield and rushing the ball.  The game looked much like modern rugby, except with a line of scrimmage and down and distance rules thanks to Walter Camp.

We would much more recognize the railroads of 1891 than that era's game of football!

BTW, Baldwin apparently built the body for the original faux locomotive "Boilermaker Special" of 1939 (the first official Purdue mascot), which rode on a Studebaker chassis.  The Monon shops were thought to have provided the bell and whistle.  Today's "Special" is still the official mascot of the University, though many incorrectly believe it is the Boilermaker guy (Purdue Pete) with the hard hat and hammer that shows up at sporting events.  The "Special" appears to be an 0-4-0.  I wish it was a sturdy Mike like this one!  http://www.monon.monon.org/lafayette/08-21Steam-DayExpress1947.jpg

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 11:00:35 AM by Ed Kyle »

Sharky1

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Re: How did Purdue University get the nickname "Boilermakers"?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2019, 09:48:50 PM »
The explanation I heard was that Wabash Collage fans were promoting the idea that Purdue was fielding ringers from the Monon locomotive shops on their football team.
There a fine line between a 'hobby' and a 'mental illness'.