RE: The Engineer's Iron Ring (Was RE: Business cards)

Subject: RE: The Engineer's Iron Ring (Was RE: Business cards)
From: "Teasdale, Steven (IndSys,Pwr Mgt,UR)" <Steven -dot- Teasdale -at- indsys -dot- ge -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 09:23:36 -0400

It originated at the University of Toronto (having been a student of U of
Toronto, they made sure we knew this!!)... check out the following web sites
for a brief history:

Steven Teasdale
Technical Writer
GE Power Management


John Fleming wrote:

I've had a few people e-mail me directly and ask me about the
significance of the iron ring on an engineer's pinkie, here's the
scoop as I recall it.

Now I'm not 100% certain if the origin is purely Canadian, or if it
originated in some other part of the world, but here's the scoop.

Many years ago, someone decided it would be great if practicing
engineers had an oath or something similar to the medical profession's
Hippocratic oath. Other people thought this was a great idea, and
before long something called the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer
was cooked up.

To make the whole affair a little more formal, somebody asked Rudyard
Kipling to do a little writing and come up with an appropriate text to
the ceremony (held in relative secrecy and attended only by engineers)
and a suitable oath.

In a nutshell, the oath commits the engineer to serving his fellow
human beings, as an engineer, to the best of his or her ability. I
think I have a copy of the text kicking around here somewhere, but I'm
not sure where.

As part of the ceremony, the engineer is given an iron ring to wear on
the pinkie on his or her working hand.

Since the institution of the oath and ceremony, wearing an iron ring
has become customary for engineers, in this part of the world anyway,
and the wearing of such a ring almost automatically identifies the
wearer as an engineer.


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