Theta Tau Facts
Founded: October 15, 1904 at the University of Minnesota
Founders: Erich Julius Schrader, Elwin Leroy Vinal, William Murray Lewis, and Isaac Baker Hanks
Motto: "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." ~ Ecclesiastes 9:10
Colors: Dark Red & Gold
Primary Symbols: Hammer & Tongs
Other Symbol: Gear
Gem: Dark Red Garnet
Publication: The Gear of Theta Tau
Chapters: 57 (10 colonies)
Members: 20,000+ collegiate; 30,000+ lifetime
Theta Tau was founded as the "Society of Hammer and Tongs," on October 15, 1904, by Erich Julius Schrader, Elwin Leroy Vinal, William Murray Lewis, and Isaac Baker Hanks, mining engineering students at the University of Minnesota. They agreed that character qualifications should have top priority in membership selection.
The Fraternity fulfilled the dream of its principal founder, Erich Schrader, that there be established in engineering a fraternity similar to those already existing in law, medicine, and dentistry. Founder Schrader established a record of service unequaled in the Fraternity's history. He served as its first Grand Regent until 1919, and then for 35 years as Grand Scribe. At its Founders' Golden Anniversary Convention (1954), Theta Tau established the position of Counselor to be held only by him. His unselfish service continued until his death in 1962, at the age of 81. The other founders also maintained their interest in the Fraternity throughout their lives. The last, Brother Vinal, died in 1971.
Brother Schrader was chiefly responsible for the Ritual, Constitution, and the Bylaws adopted by the founders. The first badge was a gold skull with the letters Θ and Τ on its forehead, and a crossed hammer and tongs beneath. The Constitution provided for the establishment of additional chapters at other leading engineering schools, and the Fraternity soon began to take on its national character.