I am trying to find the name of a old cartoon on Saturday mornings where I think a professor pulled the handle on a time machine and showcased historical times like dinosaurs, the western migration across America and like?
It is called The Wonderful Stories of Professor Kitzel.
The format of each short (5 minute) episode, of which one hundred and six were produced in all, was generally an opening discussion by the professor introducing the subject. He would then take the viewer to his time machine, pull a lever and the first series of drawings and commentary related to the subject would begin. Halfway through the story, the professor would interrupt the commentary to make some humorous remark, before returning to the narrative with an invitation to "Let's see what happened next." Each episode concluded with some humorous closing sequence.
One of the episodes
Maybe it was Once Upon a Time... Man? Children's programming, history, a professor, a kind-of-time-machine.
It could be Timberwood Tales (1991)
It is about professor who is teaching kids about animals and dinosaurs. It is a mix of cartoon animation and live action images.
Look at five minute mark here:
The other option is Back to the future - Tv Series (1991-1993)
It follows time travel adventures of Doc Brown and his sons Jules and Vernes.
Though it only ran for 39 episodes in 1960-1961, Tooter the Turtle was an included short series that ran as part of King Leon and His Short Subjects (very memorable theme music, "Dance the Bongo Konga"). King Leon was a lion, king of a land seemingly near the Congo in Africa. The program was overall structured much like Rocky and Bullwinkle, having a framing story interspersed with cartoon shorts, and predated the much better known show featuring a flying squirrel.
The shorts for Tooter the Turtle featured "Mister Wizard, the Lizard" (with a fake German accent, as I recall) sending the titular character to various places and times, as I recall to satisfy his curiosity about this or that. Tooter always managed to get into some kind of trouble, and since Mister Wizard watched him through a crystal ball, he'd wave his want and chant "Drizzle, Drazzle, Drozzle, Drone, time for this one to come home," and thus pull Tooter out of whatever mess he'd gotten into and back to the wizard's lab.
The protagonist is a penguin, who is always plotting ridiculous "get-rich quick" schemes. For technical information, he visits his friend Phineas J. Whoopee, the “Man with All the Answers".
Phineas pulls out his "Three-Dimensional Blackboard" and expands it. Then he lectures on scientific or medical topics, showing diagrams and/or videos on the blackboard.