Purdue University's mascot is not an owl, but a Victorian-style locomotive known as the Boilermaker Special. OWL is an acronym that refers to Purdue’s free Online Writing Lab for grammar and writing mechanics.
Purdue, founded in 1869 as an agricultural and mechanical university, did not have a mascot until 1939. The school chose a locomotive to reflect its engineering and railroad background. The nickname Boilermaker came about in response to a rumor that the university enrolled muscular boilermakers to play on their football team.
As of 2015, there have been seven Boilermaker Specials. The university scraps each train after replacement, keeping a single piece to incorporate into the next Boilermaker. Purdue Reamer Club operates and maintains the train and uses it in fundraising events.