Sword in the Stone at McMaster (2011)

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The Sword in the Stone at McMaster was a smaller version of the Sword in the Stone in the Galbraith Garden that was installed in front of the John Hodgins Engineering Building at McMaster University. The monument was constructed and delivered in response to a prank by McMaster the previous week.

McMaster WTF Prank[edit]

Letter and gift sent to Mario Baker from McMaster's WTF

Late on the night of February 27, 2011, six members of McMaster's pranking society, the Wardens of The Fireball, appeared in the Sandford Fleming Atrium. Over the next two hours, they constructed the "Mystery Box", a series of nested crates encased in a concrete box. The next day the boxes were opened to reveal a stockpile of fortune cookies and a locked box containing a beer and letter addressed to the Brute Force Committee.

McMaster Sword in the Stone[edit]

Construction[edit]

The McMaster Sword in the Stone before being transported to Hamilton

In response to the McMaster "prank", plans were drawn for a sword in the stone similar to the monument installed in September 2008 in the Galbraith quad. Modifications to the plan included a sealed inner chamber that would contain a message and gift to the WTF similar to those found in the Mystery Box and four recesses that would allow for the sword to be anchored to the concrete in front of the McMaster engineering building via expansion bolts. In the following days, the casting mold for the base of the sword was assembled and the sword was welded and finished, including an engraving of the BFC motto "Disrupto Ergo Sum" on the pommel.

The Sword in the Stone installed in front of McMaster's Engineering building

The concrete base of the sword was cast on Thursday night and allowed to cure over the next two and a half days while preparation and planning was done for the move to and installation at McMaster. The completed sword in the stone stood about 6' tall and weighed between 1500 and 1800 lbs.

Installation[edit]

Rather than taking the difficult route of placing the sword overnight in poor light conditions with a high risk of being caught using loud tools, the sword was transported to Hamilton in the early afternoon of March 6, 2011. Upon arrival, the truck was driven to the front of the engineering building and U of T engineers disguised as a construction crew proceeded to offload and install the sword between the front doors of the building and the McMaster Iron Ring monument in broad daylight. The installation of the sword was completed within the span of one hour.

Difficulties[edit]

During the final stages of installation, the construction crew was confronted by McMaster Campus Police. Expecting to be confronted, the students had forged a fake invoice from a company called "Brute Force Construction" for the installation of the sword. The Campus Police questioned a few of the students for several minutes while the other students casually packed up the equipment into the truck and got ready to leave. The Campus Police, believing a legitimate construction company was simply carrying out a rushed work order on a Sunday afternoon, accepted the students' explanation and drove off.

Reception and Response[edit]

The sword was generally well received by engineering students at McMaster. However, within a few days of its introduction some upper year students tried to sever the sword from the base. The WTF intervened and is currently in possession of the sword. They also moved the concrete block to an unknown location on May 8th, 2011, though it has not yet been pierced.