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Ring tone


Your article 'Fellowship of the Ring (NCE last week) missed the entire point of the story as the truth behind the wearing of the ring is far more symbolic than most realise.

On 29 August 1907, and nearing its completion, the Pont de Quebec linking Winnipeg, Manitoba to Moncton in Canada collapsed killing 75 people. On the 11th September 1916, a further 10 people were killed when the centre span collapsed during a second attempt to complete the bridge. Both tragedies were a result of engineering errors.

The rings were originally crafted from the steel of the Pont de Quebec, so that every time an engineer signed off a drawing or calculations, they would recall the devastation that an ill-conceived engineering judgement can cause.

While this is a moving story, its roots have a specific meaning for Canadian engineers. Here in Britain, we have our own traditions and customs, of which I am proud.

Our professional Institution is of international acclaim. To simply latch onto someone else's traditions without even understanding where they come from is a discredit to our hard earned reputation.

All things American are not automatically good. Let us just appreciate someone else's culture without hijacking it, please?

Heidi Shaw, lEditor's note: The nice story linking engineers' iron rings to the 1907 bridge collapse is widely reported but not based on fact.

The original rings were made by war veterans in a Toronto hospital using common pipe stock and the choice of material is probably linked with Rudyard Kipling's poem 'Cold Iron' whose refrain is 'Iron - cold iron - is master of them all'.

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