The tradition of the Brass Rat began in the spring of 1929 when C. Brigham Allen, president of the class of 1929, called upon one member of the classes of 1930, 1931, and 1932 to design a ring that the Institute Committee would approve as the Standard Technology Ring.
Controversy soon arose over whether to honor the beaver or the Great Dome on the bezel of the ring. The Committee looked to the original discussion over the mascot, calling upon the now-famous defense of the beaver by Lester Gardner, class of 1897.
We first thought of the kangaroo which, like Tech, goes forward in leaps and bounds. Then we considered the elephant. He is wise, patient, strong, hardworking, and, like all who graduate from Tech, has a good hide. But neither of these were American animals. We turned to Mr. Hornady's book on the animals of North America and instantly chose the beaver. The beaver not only typifies the Tech [student], but his habits are peculiarly our own. The beaver is noted for his engineering, mechanical skills, and industry. His habits are nocturnal. He does his best work in the dark.
With that in mind, along with the fact that many other schools had buildings similar to our Great Dome, the Committee ultimately decided to honor our hard-working and industrious mascot on the ring, allowing the class of 1930 to proudly wear the first-ever Brass Rat.
Since then, each class has appointed its own Ring Committee to uphold these time-honored traidtions. The committee strives to design a ring that we, as students, can take pride in, and which will, upon graduation, unite us all as graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.