A predominant legend has it that the doodle originated with James J. Kilroy, a shipyard inspector who worked at the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts. The story says he used this mark to indicate rivets he inspected on the hulls of ships under construction. Not all of his markings were covered by paint during the hurried construction of the warships, and servicemen of all kinds found and copied the doodle everywhere.
Nearly everywhere our servicemen went during World War II, a colleague had preceeded them and left the Kilroy doodle. Of course, it showed up everywhere at home back in the states too.
It’s an easy doodle to draw, and a whimsical little character. I’ve made my own version as a shelf sitter … or better yet, as an LCD sitter that peers over the top of the computer screen.
Want one? Sometimes available on ETSY.
Update – May 2019: All of the Kilroys have left home and I don’t currently have plans to carve more of them. Maybe some other day. Til then, THANKS for all who have been interested in them.
Read more about the Kilroy legends at:
Kilroy drawing image courtesy of Patrick Tillery, KilroyWasHere.org.