I just found this group yesterday... spent about five hours reading your
The knowledge base here is incredible. I am going to stick around to see if
of it rubs off on me.
I am designing a new type of bicycle and looking for a source of inexpensive
components. I will be selling the plans for the bike over the internet, so
should be internet based. Any suggestions?
When I worked in the shop at Boeing, we epoxied a quarter to the floor once
to see how long it would stay. It was fun watching people walk by and try to
stoop down to pick it up or kick it. It lasted about three days, then one
morning it was gone. Co-worker noticed what he thought was a chisel mark
next to where it used to be. Then there was the time a worker used fuel
tank sealer that set up over an hour or so on the bottom of a lunch pail.
Guy went to grab it for lunch and the whole top separated from the bottom
section. Needless to say, he wasn't happy.
Boeing used rivets that had to be stored cold using dry ice pellets. I saw a
guy take a 2 liter pop bottle that had about a cup or two of soda left in
it. He put about a handful of the dry ice pellets in it, put the cap on and
put it in an unused class room that was in the area. I don't remember how
many minuets it was, but we heard a rather load pop. Probably left a sticky
mess all over the room.
Once I worked as a bench mechanic making small assemblies that later went
out to the factory for installation to the airplane. We had a new inspector.
It was the custom to put your work on his bench for inspection even when he
wasn't there. I had one assembly that had a bunch of 1/8" rivets on it. I
took a 3/8" bolt and cut the head and threads off of it, drilled out under
the head so that it would sit over the rivet. I used some thin double back
tape and stuck it to the assembly. It had the required washers under the
head and nut on the other side, making it look like it was going through the
assembly. He came back to his bench and the look on his face was priceless!
Since he was new, he really didn't know what to do and was in shock. He left
to go get his supervisor. While he was gone, I went over and took the
offending bolt off. He came back with the supervisor, he picked the assembly
up and couldn't find the bolt. About 6 of us broke up laughing at that
point, the supervisor smiled and walked off. He had seen if before. The
inspector got back at me, when I returned from lunch the next day I had a
roll or two of masking tape wrapped all over my tool box. We grew to be good
friends and even did a few things together outside of work.
Any other stories of shop pranks?
This one from my father, died 1968, but I remember it well. During
the war (WWII) he worked in an engineering shop that had large
hardwood work bench's, 1 employee had the habit of just before
knockoff time of putting his tin of tobaco on the end of a bench &
going to wash his hands, timing it so that when the whistle blew, he
would be off in a flash grabbing the tobaco on the way. Needless to
say, one day someone emptied the tin, nailed it to the bench with a
couple of 4" nails & refilled it. Evidently when the whistle blew, he
almost left his arm behind.
A couple more from my days, I was an apprentice in a large electronics
plant, One day after many months of work, the instrument section
completed an automatic planar transistor tester, & it was going to be
demo'd to the C.E.O. I ran a few metre's of pvc tubing from one of the
vents in the back, around to my work bench, when the big moment of
switch on arrived, I sent a lung full of cigarette smoke through the
tube, talk about panic.
Another one occured when someone resigned to work elsewhere, it was
normal for some pranks to be played. This particular person worked in
a screen room with bench's & a wooden drawer under each bench. I wired
up a couple of large firecrackers behind the drawer, with some fuse
wire wrapped around the fuses (funny about that) & conected it to the
low voltage soldering transformer, with a micro switch held open by
the closed drawer. As the day wore on I asked him for something that I
knew was in the drawer. The results were much more spectacular than
envisioned. He opened the drawer, saw smoke issuing from the back of
the bench, lent over to see where it was coming from, the next second
the fireworks exploded, shooting the drawer out, hitting him where it
Hope to see many more posts, Cheer's Ian.
Also from my late father, died in 79. He was working on the Dew Line up in
Alaska and Northern Canada.
He told us about a number of pranks, but the best was when they dissasembled
a plane and reassembled it upstairs in the project offices.
We "found" a set of air horns off of an old dump truck and adapted a
small air nozzle with a quick connect to it, waited for someone to go
into the bathroom, then blasted about 120psi into the air horns
outside the door. It helped "finish" the job for the poor unsuspecting
bastard takin' a dump. We got the boss once, and then no more horn.
[ ... ]
Now -- *this* one reminds me of once when I was working as an
electronics technician, and we had done some modification of a test
system for another group. As it was about to be turned on, I realized
that I happened to be behind the rack, and I had a sopranino recorder
tucked in my box of Kleenex. Without a moment's thought, as I heard the
main switch being turned on, I started playing the lowest note (not too
low, on a sopranino), and slowly uncovered finger-hole after
finger-hole, producing a gliding pitch towards ever higher pitches. I
heard a frantic slapping of switches from the other side, and when I
stepped out from behind the rack, the boss of that other group looked at
me, and said "Nichols -- I'll get you for this -- so help me." (He
nerver did, as far as I know, so I guess that he saw the humor of it
after a while. :-)
The guy who taught me Auto Mechanics in highschool used to work as
service manager at a GM dealership in a small town. The back alley was
where they washed cars - and a couple of Lazy mechanics would take a
whiz back there rather than head for the washroom. On a hot summer day
it could get pretty rank back there. When it dawned on him that they
were whizzing on an old lard can lid, that rang nicely when they were
"at it" he decided to wire the lard can to an old Model "T" coil and a
battery, with wires leading to a pushbutton on the service desk. Next
time he heard the can lid ring he pushed the button.
Poor bugger couldn't take a leak for a week!
On Wed, 17 Dec 2003 14:34:04 -0800, wallster wrote
(in message ):
We used to take the powdered blue chalk used for chalk lines, run a bead of
it across the bottom of the (closed) bathroom door and hit it with the air
We called it "Smurfing".
Two gentlemen I work with were sent up to the engineering
building to learn a new product line, and were fixing the
early prototype circuit boards. First technician selects a
board and places it in the test fixture, and applies power.
The other technician is behind the fixture, and twists a
rolled up length of bubble wrap...
How about draftsman's tricks?
When I worked the boards (60s), it was well known you'd better not stand
up off yer stool for more than a second or so, because the guy behind you
would lean over his table and pour ink on your seat. You had too look
each and every time, and some por souls never cuaght on.
I played one once as a get-back to one of the above pransters. I took a
stapler and fastened a stout rubber band to his bench, leaving about half
the staple stickng up. Then I took his triangular scale, hooked it into
the end of the band, stretched it out and rested the other end on the
staple. The rubber band was concealed under the scale except at one
near corner and the staple was on the far end where it was invisible.
When he came back from bathroom and picked up scale, it took off like a
rocket. Went about 15' and right by the boss's ear. I guess you can
imagine how hard it was not to laugh out loud. The victim had to do some
fast talking and to show the boss the staple and band, to get out of
serious trouble. And I wanna tell you, he sure gave me a fishy eye
This isn't actually a prank, but it's a darned good trick .. a buddy of
mine makes slip rings for aerospace, and it's practice there that they're
inspected for concentricity before leaving shop. He had one that was
marginal, so he set the indicator up on it and advanced the cross slide
til indicator was barely bottomed out, then set the dial to the zero
point. Naturally, it the needle wouldn't move at all! The inspector came
by and rotated thru a couple turns and then said, 'never saw one THAT
While working as a commercial diver, we had a primadonna come on board. He
had a handlebar moustache that he preened constantly. He was a royal PITA
all around. We put raw eggs in his diving helmet and shoes. We tied his
He complained one night of sleeplessness, and someone gave him a blue
Valium, one of the strong ones. While he was sleeping, that someone clipped
off the long part of one half of his moustache. He woke up screaming, and
kept it up until he was helicoptered out.
there are some good, original ones showing up, reflections of
a different era....
one of the better recent ones i witnessed was an office situation,
a bunch of IT types always sharing some screwball circumstance,
work related or not. this day, our super comes back from lunch
squawking about having a run in with the store manager at a new
he gave us excrusiating detail of how he got caught by some part
of the new parking lot so that he could not go south bound again
without getting on the Tollway. so to save 25cents he cut accross
a divider and promptly stuck his S10 pu in the soft, newly landscaped
by the time he got it free the manager showed up and threatend to
sue him for damages. after a shouting match, he jumped in the truck
and drove away with the guy still yaking.
1O minutes or so after the story, the super gets a call from the
receptionist, he gets a real sober look before going down to
the lobby. 3 minutes later he storms back in to the office facing
loud peals of laughter. someone got the gal to call and say that two
policmen were waiting to see him. that lasted me for a week. --Loren
Our Rolm phone system at work here has (had) the interesting
feature - not publicized in the manuals - that one could call
any given number, and put the phone into 'page' mode - ie
the speaker would become active and squawk out whatever the
person at the other end said into his phone.
So of course somebody takes advantage of this. My co-worker's
sister was up in purchasing, and she convinced my buddy to
call *her* office mate's phone and 'page' him down to the
So his phone goes *boop* "WALTER PLEASE REPORT TO THE FRONT
So walter says 'what's up with this...' and walks down
to the front desk. "nope, we didn't call for you. We don't
do that." Trudge back upstairs. The sister sees him come back,
and fires off a computer note to her brother, 'do it again, now.' *boop* WALTER REPORT TO THE FRONT DESK IMMEDIATELY *boop*
With a curse he hightails it down again. Again told, nobody
wanted him there. Back at his desk, another message goes
down to us, 'he's back, hit'em again!' This went on all
afternoon. The poor man never knew what happened.
Of course the phone folks realized what was going on, and
locked out the 'page' feature for the mere mortals. But
it's true, when you have a building full of engineers, it's
just plain dumb to think that you can hide something like
that by no putting it in the manual. That's the same
as issuing a challange by proclamation.
please reply to:
JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com
Sounds kinda like one that happened to me.. One morning, I had been
driving with a co-worker and I made a k-turn and tapped the bumper of
someone who slipped in behind me. There was no damage.. Word of the
non-incident slipped back to the office and the Chief Technology
Officer decided to have some fun with me..
Later that day, I was in the office of the Chief Engineer of a major
Los Angeles TV station, who I don't think liked my company very much,
so I was on my absolute best behavior. While there, I get a phone
call on my cell phone from someone claiming to be the police telling
me I needed to come down to the station because I had been in a hit
and run. (Absolutely untrue) I then get another phone call, ha ha,
got ya.. The Chief Engineer is watching me turn pale and is most
unamused by the prank.. Our genius also left a message on the
answering machine of my parents, who were NOT happy when they got a
message saying "This is the police, your son was involved in a hit and
run and we're looking for him."
Anyone else would have been fired on the spot. But, ah, executives at
work. I heard the CTO and CEO had a friendly little talk after I sent
out the e-mail detailing this one.. As far as I know, the company is
no longer an operating concern.
Note: To reply, replace the word 'spam' embedded in return address with 'mail'.