This somewhat unassuming occupational shaving mug is interesting for several reasons. First, it is the only mug I have ever seen for brothers. Second, is the name: Bundy. And finally, the depiction of an engine, tender and two rail cars. What was the occupation of the Bundy Brothers in relation to railroads? Who were the Bundy Brothers? Why only one mug for the both? Were they any relation to some of the more famous Bundys? (I don't even consider Ted.)
I will tell you right now that I found no answers to these questions. And what follows is simply a record of my fruitless research into the history of this mug. It is a story of lost history and wished for connections. However, the process itself is revealing in that it shows how often an object refuses to surrender its history. This was one of those mugs that I sensed has a history to it. (I still do.) Unfortunately, I was unable to find it.
The Bundy bloodline in the United States has had many influential figures in politics and positions of power. There are those that believe the family has been allied with the Illuminati, an ancient secret society that supposedly works to control the affairs of the world powers. The following quote, from The Bundy Bloodline: Families in the world who are allied with the Illuminati, references several "Bundy Brothers":
Most Americans would not recognize the Bundy family as a powerful elite family. However, during recent history two Bundy brothers held the key positions that controlled most of the information that was fed to U.S. Presidents during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. When Johnson took over after J. F. Kennedy was assassinated McGeorge Bundy was in the key position as Nat. Sec. Advisor to determine what the President did and didn’t hear. His brother was in a key State Dept. position. Both Bundy brothers were also fraternal brothers of the Illuminati Order of the Skull and Bones. Interestingly, Jonas Mills Bundy (1835-1891) was a key advisor to President Grant, President Garfield, and President Chester A. Arthur. McGeorge Bundy and his brother William P. Bundy have held important C. F. R. and important Bilderberger positions.As much as I would love to be possession of one of these Bundy Brothers' shaving mug, I can find no connection to the railroad. If, for example, it were a Skull and Bones on the mug, I would make an argument otherwise.
Next potential candidate is The Bundy Manufacturing Company, the earliest precursor to what would later be known as IBM. It was founded by two brothers, Willard and Harlow. Willard invented the first time clock. He and his brother were commonly known as "the Bundy Brothers". As tempting as it might be to say this was their shaving mug, the fact that there is the occupational image is a train and not some sort of time-keeping device or a simple clock, rules these famous Bundy Brothers out as past owners.
Looking for connections between a railroad and the name Bundy, I discovered there was a William "Black Bill" Bundy Jr. whose family operated a station on an "Underground Railroad" in the mid-1800s to help runaway slaves making their way to freedom in the North. Again, a fascinating bit of history, but there was no brother. And the railroad image on the mug, while clever, would have been too revealing.
Finally, there was a company in Cooperstown, New York in the late 1800s named Bundy Brothers & Cruttenden, which specialized in "dry goods, wallpaper, furniture and carpets." In the transcript proceeding from the Court of Appeals: New York: Vol.83 (1907), the State of New York is appealing a "certificate of convenience and necessity" that was previously granted to the Cooperstown and Northern Railway Company. Cruttenden is asked about his business with the Bundy Brothers and what impact the train will have on his companies freighting costs. And again, it would be wonderful to discover that Cruttenden and the Bundy Brothers later bought into this railroad and thus establishing a connection to the shaving mug with the train. But I can find no evidence to back this up.
Sadly, that is all I can find through my research. A series of exciting possibilities that do not connect. And so the history of the mug is lost. I had hoped that the "Bundy Brothers" would have left a small trace of their lives in the world, something to explain the train on their shaving mug. But, as is the case with so many shaving mugs, the mug is all we have. I wonder if the Bundy Bros would have ever imagined that many years after their death their curious shaving mug would be the source of unanswerable riddles on a webpage of the Internet.