Engineering Rings in Canadavon Barron Wang
As we know many engineers in Canada wear an iron ring as a symbol and reminder of obligation and ethics associated with the profession. I attended the ring ceremony by March 3rd, got my iron ring and learned a little bit more about its history.
The idea of a ceremony for the Obligation of Canadian Engineers dates back to 1922, when seven past-presidents of the Engineering Institute of Canada attended a meeting in Montreal with other engineers. Rudyard Kipling responded to a call from the seven engineers with The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer, to be administered by the Corporation of the Seven Wardens Inc. It was instituted with the simple end of directing newly qualified Canadian engineers toward a consciousness of their profession and its social significance, and indicating to more experienced engineers their responsibilities in welcoming and supporting the newer engineers when they are ready to enter the profession.
There is a story behind this iron ring. The Quebec Bridge collapsed during construction in 1907 and killed 75 construction workers, due to poor planning and design by the overseeing engineers. In order to remember this accident and the obligation of engineers, the iron rings which are made from the steel of a beam started to be worn by engineers. This story may have its roots in a common practice of attaching a symbol of an engineering failure, such as a bolt from that bridge, to chain that is held by participants in the ritual.
The Iron Ring is worn on the pinky finger of the working hand. This story may not be the reason of wearing the ring, however it does remind people who wear it of their ‘obligation of Engineer’. I can feel a little bit heavier of my right hand when I wear it.