It all started in 1905 when a group of Purdue students took the weapon to Champaign in anticipation of firing it to celebrate a Boiler victory. Although Purdue did win the game 29-0, Illinois supporters, including Quincy A. Hall, had discovered the Cannon in its hiding place - in a culvert near the old Illinois field - and confiscated it before the Purdue students could start their "booming" celebration.
Later, Hall moved the Cannon to his farmhouse near Milford, Ill., where it survived a fire and gathered dust until Hall suggested it be used as a trophy in the football series between the two schools when the rivalry was resumed in 1943 after a 12-year lapse.
The Tomahawk Service and Leadership Honorary at Purdue and Illini Pride now share the maintenance duty.