The Iron Ring is a symbolic ring worn by Canadian engineers. The Ring is given as part of "The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer", written by Rudyard Kipling. Legend has it that the rings were made from the steel of a beam from the Quebec Bridge, which collapsed during construction in 1916 due to poor planning and design by the overseeing engineers, killing 75 construction workers. Although this is not true , the Ring is a symbol of both pride and humility for the engineering profession. The ring is always worn on the little (fifth) finger of the working hand, where the facets act as a fairly sharp reminder of the obligation while the engineer works. This is particularly true of recently called engineers, whose rings still bear facets nearly sharp enough to be considered serrations. The Iron Ring originally was made exclusively from iron, but graduating engineering students are now typically given stainless steel versions. A few of the older engineering schools in the country still offer iron rings (predominantly so called "experienced" rings turned in by retiring or the families of deceased engineers. The iron version is rare in the extreme due to both medical and practical (industrial/construction site) complications and the more popular stainless steel ring (which does not rust) is now clearly the future of the profession's working hand.
The Ritual of the Calling of an EngineerEdit
The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer is the ceremony where Iron Rings are given to graduating engineers who choose to obligate themselves to the highest professionalism and humility of their profession. It is a symbol only and reflects the moral, ethical and professional commitment made by the engineer who wears the ring. The ceremonies are strictly private affairs with no publication. Invitations to attend are extended to local engineering alumni and professionals (who have taken the obligation - non-obligated engineers may choose to register to take the obligation, but may not participate otherwise until obligated themselves), as well as to obligated engineers by those who are scheduled to take the obligation. Although the details of the ceremony are not secret, they are considered sacrosanct and obligated engineers will normally decline opportunies to discuss the ceremony, particularly with engineering students.
History of the RitualEdit
Iron Rings in other CountriesEdit
Based upon the success of the Iron Ring in Canada, similar programs have started in other countries. For example, in the United States, the Order of the Engineer was founded in 1972, and conducts similar ring ceremonies at a number of U.S. colleges, in which the recipient signs an "Obligation of the Engineer" and receives a stainless steel ring (which, unlike the Canadian Iron Ring, is actually smooth and not faceted).