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Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer
Teachable Moment: When I first heard this story I was told the iron was made from the failed Quebec Bridge, which I guess isn't true but the ceremonial message of responsibility still holds... this ring is a great reminder of how important engineering decisions can be.
The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer has a history dating back to 1922, when seven past-presidents of the Engineering Institute of Canada attended a meeting in Montreal with other engineers. One of the speakers was civil engineer Professor Haultain of the University of Toronto. He felt that an organization was needed to bind all members of the engineering profession in Canada more closely together. He also felt that an obligation or statement of ethics to which a young graduate in engineering could subscribe should be developed. The seven past-presidents of the Engineering Institute of Canada were very receptive to this idea.
Haultain wrote to Rudyard Kipling, who had made reference to the work of engineers in some of his poems and writings. He asked Kipling for his assistance in developing a suitably dignified obligation and ceremony for its undertaking. Kipling was very enthusiastic in his response and shortly produced both an obligation and a ceremony formally entitled "The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer."
The object of the Ritual can be stated as follows: The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer has been instituted with the simple end of directing the newly qualified engineer toward a consciousness of the profession and its social significance and indicating to the more experienced engineer their responsibilities in welcoming and supporting the newer engineers when they are ready to enter the profession.
The Ritual is administered by a body called The Corporation of the Seven Wardens Inc./Société des Sept Gardiens inc. The seven past-presidents of the Engineering Institute of Canada in 1922 were the original seven Wardens. The Corporation is responsible for administering and maintaining the Ritual and in order to do so creates Camps in various locations in Canada. The Ritual is not connected with any university or any engineering organization; the Corporation is an entirely independent body. The Ritual has been copyrighted in Canada and in the United States.
The Iron Ring has been registered and may be worn on the little finger of the working hand by any engineer who has been obligated at an authorized ceremony of the Ritual of the Calling of the Engineer. The ring symbolizes the pride which engineers have in their profession, while simultaneously reminding them of their humility. The ring serves as a reminder to the engineer and others of the engineer's obligation to live by a high standard of professional conduct. It is not a symbol of qualification as an engineer - this is determined by the provincial and territorial licensing bodies.