The Crest

The Engineering Society crest was designed in 1968 by Veikko Kuronen as an entry to a logo design contest and has maintained its original form over the years, with symbols representing each of the six disciplines that existed at Waterloo at the time: the partially toothed wheel represents Mechanical Engineering, the lightning bolt represents Electrical Engineering, the test tube represents Chemical Engineering, the transit represents Civil Engineering, the grey background represents Geological Engineering, and Systems Design is represented as the unifying circle which ties them all together.

Every discipline that has been introduced since then has found representation within the original crest design: Computer and Software are included in the lightning bolt, Mechatronics Engineering is jointly represented by the gear and lightning bolt, Nanotechnology Engineering by the lightning bolt and test tube, Environmental Engineering by the transit and test tube, and Management Engineering by the lightning bolt and the unifying circle.

The newest program Biomedical Engineering introduced in 2014 is represented by the unifying circle in this instance representing life that the pursuit of medicine strives to preserve.

The Tool

The Tool is a sixty-inch triple chrome-plated adjustable pipe wrench, forged by the Ridged Tool Company of Elyria, OH, USA. It is the only known fully chromed pipe wrench of its type in the world, and is the mascot of the University of Waterloo Engineering Society. The Tool may only be touched by those who wear an Iron Ring, and is meant to act as a unifying symbol of the pride of the Waterloo Engineer. Its history goes back to the early days of the University.

In the late 1960s, the Engineering Society had no official mascot. Being barely 10 year old, the Society decided to begin the process of selecting and acquiring an object that would become the Society’s official mascot and icon – something to represent the immense pride and spirit that Waterloo Engineering had. Several ideas were discussed, but the two most popular ideas for a mascot were a pipe wrench (a symbol of the “Plummer and Proud of It” attitude championed by Ken Loach, Chemical ’71), and a sword. Through a public vote in meetings of both A-Soc and B-Soc, it was determined that the wrench would be the mascot, and it would be big.

Jim Pike, A-Society President at the time, then began the search for the new mascot, and while on a co-op work term, found a suitable choice: the Ridge Tool Company’s straight pipe wrench model No. 60. However, at a cost of $350, it was unattainable for the young Engineering Society.

Jim decided to send a letter to the Ridge Tool Company and explain what they wanted to do, what the wrench would mean to the society, and if they would donate one. The company’s response was an overwhelming “yes” with only two conditions: that it would be known as “The Ridgid Tool”, and that it would retain its original orange colours out of respect for the Ridge Tool Company.

The Tool was chromed within a few hours of Pike picking it up from the supplier in the summer of 1968, although he admits that he “should have had a Chemical Engineer along to explain what happens to orange paint in a chrome dip.” As for the name “The Ridgid Tool”, he won’t say what exactly happened, except that it did get lots of mileage and notoriety before the official name change.

With The Tool coming to the University of Waterloo, it was determined that a group of dedicated students was needed to protect it and thus, the Action Committee was formed. It was their duty to be the official guardians of the Tool in public and in private. Over time, these students came to be known as Tool Bearers, and the Action Committee was dissolved. There are no publicly known details about the Tool Bearers today, except that whenever the Tool is around, they are as well, silently guarding it in their black and gold uniform. On October 5th, 1968, the Tool made its first official public appearance, at an Engineering Semi-Formal dance. From that point forward, it has been at every major event of the Engineering Society.

In the entire history of the Tool, there have been few instances where it has been stolen by another school. The last time was in January of 1982, after the Welcome Back Stag. The Tool was being driven back in a convoy of vehicles after the Stag when the lead Tool Bearer made an unexpected stop by himself before reaching their destination. It was then that Engineering students from U of T attacked him and stole the Tool. After two months of negotiations between the schools, it was finally returned on March 4th, 1982, just before the Iron Ring Ceremony, encased in a 45-gallon drum of concrete. The tireless Tool Bearers worked non-stop to free the Tool from the concrete, and succeeded, only to find that “U of T” had been engraved into it. Since 1982, however, no school or outside group has touched the Tool, emphasizing the dedication of the modern Tool Bearers to its protection and safe-keeping.

Nowadays, the Tool is still the popular mascot of the Engineering Society. It shows up to any event where high spirit and pride is shown, ever guarded by the silent and unknown Tool Bearers. The On-stream Engineering Society president is the official spokesperson for the Tool and its silent bearers and is always close by whenever The Tool makes an appearance.

Sporting a new layer of chrome, the Tool celebrated its 40th birthday (having been forged in 1967) on June 15, 2007, marking 40 years of spirit, pride and faith in Engineering at the University of Waterloo and the Waterloo Engineering Society. In Jim Pike’s words, “It’s big, it’s beautiful, it’s chromed… It’s us!”


Since The Tool isn’t able to travel to conferences or attend to the daily activities of the society, a mini-Tool was procured. This mini-Tool attends conferences and EngSoc Council Meetings regularly, and unlike the Tool can be touched and held by anyone. The mini-Tool goes by the name “Junior” and symbolically fulfills the unifying role of The Tool whenever The Tool is unavailable.

The Hymn

The Engineering Hymn is a sung across Canada by engineers with many different versus and variations. Inspired by Lady Godiva and her sadness at the plight of the poor in 11th century England the hymn recounts the tale of Godiva’s husband, Leofric, who was a man of power and could have alleviated the suffering inflicted on the destitute, had he wanted to do so. He agreed to lower taxes at the request of his lovely wife, but only if she would ride a horse completely naked through the streets of Coventry, thinking that she would not go through with it. She did, but before her ride, she told the villagers of her plan and asked that they not watch her. Since then, Godiva’s legendary courage has been the source of many works of art, including the Engineering Hymn.

Below are several versus of the Engineering Hymn as sung at Waterloo.
Sung to the tune of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”

We are, we are, we are, we are, we are the Engineers;
We can, we can, we can, we can demolish forty beers.
Drink rum, drink rum, drink rum, drink rum, so come along with us –
For we don’t give a damn for any damn man who don’t give a damn for us.

Disclaimer: During Orientation Week and public or community events the family friendly version of the chorus is used:
We are, we are, we are the Engineers
We can, we can, fix anything with gears
We work HARD, we play HARD, so come along with us…
For we don’t give a damn for any damn man who don’t give a damn for us!

Godiva was a lady, who through Coventry did ride
To show to all the villagers her lovely bare white hide.
The most observant villager, an engineer of course,
Was the only one to notice that Godiva rode a horse.

Said she, “I’ve come a long, long way, and I will go as far
With the man who takes me from this horse and leads me to a bar.”
The men who took her from her steed and stood her to a beer
Were a blurry-eyed surveyor and a drunken engineer!

Godiva woke next morning and she had an awful head,
Decided to be sensible and spend the day in bed.
The only ones to visit her and bring her lots of cheer
Were the broken-down surveyor and the bloodshot engineer.

Godiva died, and where she fell a benchmark marks the spot –
In any engineering text its level can be got.
And up in heaven everyday Godiva craves for beer, but
She’ll have to wait until the gates let in the engineers!

An artsie and an engineer once found a gallon can.
Said the artsie, “Match me drink for drink, as long as you can stand.”
They drank three drinks, the artsie fell, his face was turning green:
But the engineer drank on and said, “It’s only gasoline.”

An artsie and an engineer were stranded on a boat.
One man above capacity; the poor thing would not float.
The engineer would flip a coin to settle the dispute,
So he flipped it in the water and the artsie gave pursuit.

A wide-eyed Artsie Chemist and a Chemical Engineer,
Were formulating molecule equations over beer.
Each drank a glass of water, but the Artsie hit the floor,
For what he thought was H20 was H2SO4.

I happened once upon a girl whose eyes were full of fire,
Her physical endowments would have made your hands perspire.
To my surprise she told me that she never had been kissed,
For her boyfriends had been artsies or computer scientists!

My father was a miner in the northern Malamute,
My mother was a mistress in a house of ill-repute.
They kicked me out at a tender age and never shed a tear –
They said, “Get out of here, you son-of-a-bitch, and join the engineers!”

When the Mechs are feeling tired and the Civils are worn out,
There’s just one place to go and that’s the bar, without a doubt.
So the next time that you drink an ice-cold, golden, frothy beer,
Get on your worthless knees and thank a Chemical Engineer.

The army and the navy boys went out to have some fun
Down at the local tavern where the fiery liquors run.
But all they found were empties, for the engineers had come
And traded all their instruments for gallon jugs of rum!

As legend goes an apple fell on Sir Issac’s head,
And Newtonian Mechanics then was born, took hold and spread.
Too bad he was a physicist and not an Engineer,
If he wore a hardhat, we’d have less class and more beer!

Sir Francis Drake and all his men set out for Calais Bay –
They’d heard the Spanish rum fleet would be headed up that way.
But the engineers had beat them by a night and half a day
And though as drunk as they could be, you still could hear them say…

Rapunzel let her hair down for two suitors down below,
So one of them could grab a hold and give the old heave-ho
The prince began to climb at once, but soon came out the worst,
For the Engineer rode up a lift, and reached Rapunzel first.

A man sat in a tavern with a lovely looking lass
And stared, when for the nineteenth time she raised and drained her glass.
He said “You’ve out-drunk four strong men, and half the bar, my dear.”
But the maiden smiled demurely and said, “I’m an engineer.”

An engineer once came to class so drunk and very late,
He stumbled through the lecture hall at an ever-diminishing rate.
The only things that held him up, and kept him on his course,
Were the boundary condition and electromotive force.

The firehose by day and fourty beers by night,
An Engineer may never sleep and still be just as bright.
And should you ever ask him how he keeps up his routine,
He’ll raise his trusty cup of Java, smile and say “Caffeine.”

Now you’ve heard our story and you know we’re Engineers.
We love to hate our problem sets, we love to drink our beers.
We drink to every person who comes here from far and near,
‘Cause we’re a HELL-OF-A, HELL-OF-A, HELL-OF-A, HELL-OF-A,


What the Colour Purple Symbolizes
Schools across Canada share several common traditions, including purpling. Purpling is the act of dying your skin purple out of respect for the engineering profession and dedication to your school. The legend is that the engineers aboard the Titanic wore purple coveralls, and as the ship sank, they remained in the engine rooms to keep the furnaces going so that the smoke would act as a signal to other ships. They sacrificed their lives to attempt to save others. In addition, it is said that the Royal Engineers of the British Army wore a purple armband.

Much like the Iron Ring, purpling is done out of respect for those that gave their lives for and because of our profession and as a reminder of the responsibility all engineers share.

Purpling at Waterloo only occurs during special event and traditions. The most common time to see purple engineers is during Orientation week when many leaders and first years dye themselves. During Summer or Fall terms there may be charity purpling events where students collect pledges to die themselves purple to raise money for charity.

Purpling the President
Every 16 months is the EngSoc election, where new executive members are elected to office. Sometime shortly after the election results are released, the new President is found chained to a concrete block in CPH Foyer dyed purple from head to toe. They must remain chained to this block until released so that all engineering students have an opportunity to see and talk to their new president. The details of how, when, where, and why the president is purpled and chained to the concrete block, as well as those responsible for it, is unknown. Even the new president rarely remembers the events leading up to their Foyer captivity.


The Non-Existent Action Committee, quite simply, doesn’t exist. They never stole the Math Log, Pink Tie or Arts Boar. They didn’t paint the orange sculpture outside of DWE to look like Tony the Tiger, and they certainly didn’t re-paint it a year later to their favourite colour. They’ve never turned POETS into a beach, brought the outdoors indoors, or covered everything in POETS in tinfoil. They most definitely did not create a 6.9 hole mini-putt course in CPH courtyard.

They’ve never been where they should not go, and they never do what they could not achieve. They don’t have eyes and ears all over campus keeping track of what goes on, and they don’t constantly plan their next caper.

The Non-Existent Action Committee is just a fable; a tall-tale told by students to explain the strange happenings around campus from time to time. Some claim they’ve seen NEAC scrawled on buildings and sculptures, which is entirely impossible. Others have simply claimed that they “did nuthin’, saw nuthin’, heard nuthin’, in fact…I was never here.”

In short, if you see strange things happening around campus you definitely know who it was not.

Leather Jackets

The University of Waterloo jackets have been around since the early 1960’s. The jacket started as a symbol worn to show drivers that they could trust the hardworking Waterloo Engineering students who were looking to hitchhike a ride to campus. The original jackets were only available to the Engineers, and were made of purple corduroy with gold lettering. Over the years this has evolved into the black leather jacket that you will see being worn around campus by all faculties.

The jackets are custom fitted. The standard jacket embroidery consists of your graduation year on the right sleeve, your department on your left sleeve, the Waterloo crest on the front, and “WATERLOO ENGINEERING” on the back. Additional things are sometimes added to the jackets depending on any accomplishments or executive positions served.

You can order your jacket from the Waterloo Store located in South Campus Hall. There are Leather Jacket Days each term when Waterloo offers a 15% discount. Look out for posters around the engineering buildings announcing when the next Leather Jacket day is happening.

Iron Ring, IRC, IRS

Iron Ring
The Iron Ring is both a symbol of pride in the engineering profession and a reminder of the engineer’s obligation to live by a high standard of professional conduct. The legend of the Iron Ring is that it is forged from a steel beam of the ill-fated Quebec bridge, which collapsed in 1907 due to poor engineering and planning, killing 75 construction workers. Worn on the pinky finger of one’s working hand, the Iron Ring is given to 4th year students at a voluntary ceremony known as the “Ritual of the Calling of the Engineer”.

Iron Ring Ceremony (IRC)
The Ritual of the Calling of the Engineer has a history dating back to 1922, when seven former presidents of the Engineering Institute of Canada attended a meeting in Montréal 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. 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 objective 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.” (Office of the Camp Wardens, Camp No. 1, Toronto)

For more information regarding IRC, see the following page (updated annually):

Iron Ring Stag (IRS)
IRS is a Waterloo tradition and celebration that occurs for the graduating class every year in the evening following the Iron Ring Ceremony, and is the first opportunity for the newly-ringed students to touch The Tool. Only graduating students with their iron rings are allowed to attend, and there is a strictly-enforced all-black dress code. During the year leading up to IRS, you’ll frequently hear fourth-years asking “How many days ’till IRS?!”. There is a countdown clock in POETS which keeps track of exactly how much time is left before IRS for the next graduating class.
The day before IRS it is customary for the graduating classes to gather and celebrate “one day ‘till IRS”. Classes typically show their spirit with elaborate costumes and pranks that represent their time at the University.

Office of the Camp Wardens, Camp No. 1, Toronto,. The Calling Of An Engineer. Toronto, Ontario: N.p., 2015. Print.


These are a great source of pride for many engineering schools across Canada. They allow you to show your personality, while also showing unity within the Engineering community.

We have a coverall day every term where you can buy your own pair of covies!