While every graduate engineer is familiar with the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer, there may be a few who do not know that the ritual dates back to 1922 and a certain Professor Herbert Edward Terrick Haultain. In a talk he gave that year, Professor Haultain recommended developing an oath or creed for graduating engineers. Following up his own idea, Haultain requested the famous Victorian writer and poet Rudyard Kipling compose a fitting poem as part of a ceremony. This Kipling did and the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer, or the Kipling Ritual, as it is now known, was born.
But this was only part of Haultain’s achievement. As a professor, he turned out hundreds of men and women who could count him as confidante, mentor, inspiration and friend. His teaching insisted on practical experience in the mines before graduation.
He was, in addition, an inventor. The Superpanner and Infrasizer, for sizing in the sub-sieve materials of extremely small size. The first units were tested at the Lake Shore mine and eventually they were put into use the world over. He was also instrumental in the breakthrough technology known as chemical flotation in the early 1900s, which was to make “ore” out of what had been to then merely “minerals.”
This development expanded Canada’s mining and mineral industry from small highgrade direct smelting ores to larger, lower-grade deposits which could be upgraded, by milling and chemical flotation to high-grade concentrates.
Haultain was born in Brighton, England in 1869. He was granted the degree of civil engineer from the School of Practical Science in 1889. He did post-graduate work in England and at the oldest mining school in the world founded in 1765 in Freiberg, Germany.
While at a tin mine in Bohemia in 1889, he designed and operated the first electric mining hoist in continental Europe. During his two decades of active practice, he worked in Saxony, British Columbia, South Africa, Idaho and Ontario. His lifetime interest in the problems and wonders of fine-sizing began at Canada Corundum Co. in Ontario.
In 1908, he was appointed Professor of Mining Engineering at the University of Toronto. Often unorthodox in his teaching method, his influence was profound and internationally recognized. It is said that he had an iron will and constitution and yet he was kind and inspirational.
Known affectionately as the “Old Man,” he was noted for his messy desk, which he justified by once saying that “an empty desk denotes barrenness of soul.” His influence during the current century of mining in this country is incalculable. His more than 300 mining graduates became the engineers, managers, presidents and makers of Canada’s mining industry.
His civic work is also notable. He created the role of Ontario Vocational Officer for civil re-establishment of returning WWI soldiers. In 1927, he started the Technical Service Council as a link between engineers and industry, which still lives today as a job-placement and finding function for engineers.