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An experimental laboratory or department of a company or institution, typically smaller than and independent of its main research division; Skunk Works was originally the trademark name of an engineering and design technical consultancy service provided by the Lockheed Advanced Development Company.

The term is said to derive from the fact that the original operation was located next to a plastics factory which reminded workers there of the outdoor still called the ‘Skonk Works’ in the ‘Li'l Abner’ comic strip by the cartoonist, Al Capp. To avoid infringement of copyright, the first vowel was changed when the name was registered.

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