the brain cells are ganging up on me again...
I recall being shown a website which contained a archive of an engineering/
machining cartoon called "Bull of the walk" or a name similar to that.
My bookmarks have been lost, and my memory has deserted me in it.... I tried
Googling for the name, but haven't any success finding it (perhaps the name
Can someone please direct me on the correct name, or a link to the cartoons
(if they're still around)
It was called "Bull of the Woods" by JR Williams and it is a series of
one-panel cartoons that ran in some publication several decades ago.
(Think 'Our Boarding House' with a machinist theme.) The cartoons have
been collected into three books and are available from -- surprise,
surprise -- Lee Valley Tools.
That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
Never get your philosophy from some guy who ended up in the looney bin.
-- Wiz Zumwalt
J.R. Williams spent several of his younger years working in a machine
shop, before he began his career as a cartoonist.
I've got about 50 of his "Bull of The Woods" cartoons on my hard drive.
If you've never seen them, here are four in a zip file:
If I remember correctly, the Bull of the Woods title came from the
fact that the machines in a big shop at the time were driven by wide
belts from overhead pulleys. The shop foreman cruising through
a 'forest' of such belts, seen as a silhouette against distant dirty
windows might well bring to mind the image of a bull moose
patrolling his domain.
And have you noticed how much he looked like W.C. Fields?
I hadn't, but now that you mention it, I agree.
I have an old book (First published in 1924) titled "Redrawn by Request
- The great cartoons of J.R. Williams" and refreshed my memory.
Williams drew at least six other single panel cartoon series, including
one about cowboy life, which ran in major american newspapers from the
1920s into the 1950s. They all had themes similar to Bull of The Woods,
and portrayed the human weaknesses and frustrations most of us will
readily identify with.
Gary Brookins' "Pluggers" cartoons which run in todays dailies are in my
opinion thematically similar to William's work. If they're not in your
local papers you can see some archived at:
That old book of mine mentions that J.R. Williams quit the fifth grade
in the late 1800s to take a 6 cent per hour job in a machine shop in
Alliance, Ohio. He bounced around the country doing "dirty hands" jobs
and ended up back in Alliance working in a different machine shop.
Williams started drawing cartoons while he was working in that shop and
in 1922, when he was already in his forties, he got recognized as a
cartoonist and syndicated in US newspapers.
And yes, the book's author confirms what you said about the "forest of
belts", and also gave the name of the foreman who became "The Bull",
Those Bull of The Woods cartoons were often used on advertising items.
Here's a 1954 blotter I have (Remember the fountain pen?):
Our desks had holes for inkwells, but the inkwells had long since been
removed. Also there were four rows of seat/desks, bolted to the floor.
The girls always sat in two rows and the boys in two other rows.
I also distinctly remember that that the school had BOYS and GIRLS
carved deep into the keystones over entrances at the opposite ends of
Yeah, that's me getting my head patted...
[ ... ]
Not quite. While I used cheap fountain pens in school (both the
lever refill and the cartridge ones), I never used an inkwell and a
dip-as-you-go pen. The desks at school still had holes for inkwells,
with inkwells in most of them. But the inkwells did not have a flipping
top like the one in the cartoon. Instead, it had a small central hole,
surrounded by a sort of lobed shallow space to catch the drips and run
them back in (I presume.)
Actually, my own favorite (and I still have quite a few
somewhere) were the Rapidograph India ink drafting pens.
Yep -- all of them. I probably *was* one of them. :-)
The only thing missing is the camera with the swinging lens, the
students arranged in a semi-circle, and the kid on the starting end who
knew how it worked, and who ran behind the camera as soon as the lens
passed his location, to get to the other end in time to appear twice in
the photo. :-)
Nope -- but I've got a friend who is a collector (and restorer)
of fountain pens. He has somewhere north of 3000 of the beasties last I
I'll be seeing him in about a week and a half, to help fit a
collet chuck to his Logan lathe.
In the meanwhile, google around for pen collectors groups. I'll
bet that you'll find suppliers that way.
Or -- you *could* try heat-shrinking some condoms to try as a
starting point. :-)
My Parker 45 (1966) still has a good bladder, but I found a plastic-plunger
one from Parker a few years ago that *almost* fit.
I made it fit by carving some off the top with my pocket knife, right in the
store where I bought it.
As Don says, there are enough collectors around that you can find all kinds
of things for old pens. There even is, or was, a collectors' magazine.
I want a new Parker, the premium line, but I'm not prepared to spend the
$300 admission cost. So I use a Cross fountain pen. The Parkers are nicer.