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Boilermakers is the official nickname for the intercollegiate athletic teams of Purdue University. As is common with athletic nicknames, it is also used as colloquial designation of Purdue's students and alumni at large. The nickname is often shortened to "Boilers" by fans of the school. Purdue has one of the few college athletic programs that is not funded by student fees or subsidized by the university. The nickname "Boilermakers" goes back to 1891 when the Purdue football team defeated nearby rival Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana 44–0. An account of the game in the Crawfordsville Daily Argus News of October 26, 1891 was headlined, "Slaughter of Innocents: Wabash Snowed Completely Under by the Burly Boiler Makers from Purdue." Engineering education in the 1890s at Purdue meant hands-on work in the forge room, where students heated and molded metal, just like the "blacksmiths" and "boilermakers" the football team was called after defeating opponents. The local Purdue press picked up on the name, with a notice in the November 1, 1891 Lafayette Sunday Times, "As everyone knows, Purdue went down to Wabash last Saturday and defeated their eleven. The Crawfordsville papers have not yet gotten over it. The only recourse they have is to claim that we beat their 'scientific' men by brute force. Our players are characterized as 'coal heavers,' 'boiler makers' and 'stevedores.
n the early 1890s Purdue fielded dominating football teams. In 1891 Purdue went 4-0, outscoring opponents 192-0. In 1892 Purdue went 8-0, outscoring opponents 320-24. In 1893 Purdue went 5-2-1, outscoring opponents 334-144. In 1894 Purdue went 9-1, outscoring opponents 288-36. Over these four years, Purdue's combined record was 26-3-1, outscoring opponents 1134-204. Purdue beat in-state rival Indiana University 60-0, 68-0, 64-0, and 6-0 by an understandable forfeit. Purdue went 2-1 against Illinois, 2-1 Wisconsin, 3-0 against Chicago and split 2 games with Michigan.