Engineers across Canada get purpled in tub full of purple dye during frosh week and other events. Purpling is an age old engineering tradition and we do it for more reasons than just looking cool. There are many explanations to purpling but no one has the definitive reason.
One story behind the origin of purpling involves a mineral engineer in Egypt that discovered valuable deposits of lapis lazuli (purple mineral) that caused a section of the Nile to get purple. Another one involves an engineer walking his and discovering the colour after his dog bit into a mollusk. One of the more popular reasons why we get purple involves the tragic incident of the Titanic.
Purple is known to be a royalty colour due to how historically expensive it is to traditionally synthesize it. But that’s not the reason we get purple, engineers should practise humility and duty (read Iron Ring). One of the legends is that engineers that were on the Titanic kept the ship afloat while running the furnace to produce a lot of smoke as long as they could. The smoke from the furnace was noticeable for miles and became a factor in saving survivors while the engineers tragically died with the ship. Engineers in the military traditionally wore purple patches, bands or overalls and since they worked under wet conditions, it was common for engineers to be seen with purple dye running down their arms.
Today, we commemorate those engineers who worked so bravely by getting purple during special events like frosh week and National Engineering Month. It is completely safe as we use medical dye (gentian violet) and a lot of fun. It’s a good idea to wear old clothes you don’t care about and stripping down to minimal clothing so you don’t take all that purple stuff absorbed into your clothes. We understand that not everyone can get purple but at least dip your hand in or your pinky to get in on the fun. Also, it makes a great story for meeting new people. Don’t forget to ask people whether they want to see a purple Zebra.