“The first Lockheed aircraft factory was built adjacent to an industrial plastics plant. When the wind blew just right, a horrible odor enveloped the Lockheed factory. The story goes that one day a Lockheed engineer, Irving “Irv” Culver, was so distressed by the odor, he began to answer his phone with the phrase, “Skonk Works, inside man Culver here…,” in reference to the then popular comic strip “Li’l Abner” in which a fictitious factory brewed a smelly concoction of ground up skunks and old shoes known to readers as “Skonk Oil”. Over time the phrase caught on and the name was eventually changed to “Skunk Works” at the request of the comic strip copyright holder.”
Skunk Works is now used to describe a group within an organization given a high degree of autonomy and unhampered by bureaucracy, tasked with working on advanced or secret projects. Recent belivers in the Skunkworks method are Microsoft and Alfa Romeo.
Lockheed Skunk Works