Engineering students restore clock

by Susan Bubak
April 18, 2007

'Twas the night before Kipling, and all through the campus, not a creature was stirring, except for a group of engineering students who wanted to leave their mark on McMaster before they graduated.

Several engineering students, including Ryan Gillespie and Klaus Werner, fourth-year mechanical engineering students, and Steve Collee, a fifth-year engineering and management student, spent the night of March 22 restoring the clock in front of the John Hodgins Engineering Building.

They turned back the hands of time with a new coat of paint, new plexiglass face covers and four hours of polishing the clock's copper features. They also installed energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs to illuminate the clock at night.

"The actual work started at 10:30 p.m. on March 22," said Gillespie. "We had a lot of help from some of the other graduating mech. eng. students and the clock wouldn't have come together without them. We worked through the night and finished up reinstalling the faces, hands and rings by approximately 5:30 a.m. on March 23."

Gillespie described the project as part prank, part legacy gift.

The makeover cost about $300, which the students collected from the Faculty of Engineering. The clock isn't working yet because it still needs a new motor to power the hands, but the students hope to get a new motor this summer.

JHE Clock

Fourth-year mechanical engineering students Klaus Werner and Ryan Gillespie were among a group of engineering students who restored the clock in front of JHE as part of a Kipling prank. Photo by Susan Bubak.


The Kipling Ceremony marks an engineering student's transition from academic to professional life. The ceremony includes the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer, where students receive their iron rings as a reminder of their responsibilities as engineers.

It's a tradition for graduating engineering students to carry out a prank before the ceremony. Previous Kipling pranks have involved parking cars in unusual places, such as on top of the University Hall tower.