The Triangle Rattle traditionally is presented to a new chapter at installation to signify its “baby” status in Triangle. The newest chapter is custodian of the Rattle until the next installation, when it passes the Rattle along.
The idea of presenting this token of infancy was conceived by Edward F. Wilsey ia22 before the Minnesota installation. As the proposed Rattle wasn’t ready for the installation on October 29, 1922, Brother Wilsey presented a beribboned, highly painted rattle to the Minnesota chapter, suggesting that the future pledges at the Minnesota chapter be required to kiss the pacifier and that it be passed along to the next chapter of Triangle to be installed. Brother V. M. Babcock minn23 then placed the first kiss on the rattle on behalf of Minnesota. The actual Rattle was delivered at the installation of the Armour chapter on May 16, 1923.
At the beginning, the Rattle consisted of a triangle and enclosed T surmounted by a flat cylinder. The Rattle rattles when shaken due to pennies in the cylinder. Originally a coin, with the year of installation, was to be added for each new chapter, but the practice has been discontinued. Each new chapter, however, has added some object of engineering or Triangle significance to the Rattle.
Additions over the years, as each new chapter demonstrated its imagination and ingenuity, made the original Rattle unwieldy, so the RIT Chapter was asked to start Rattle II for presentation at the Colorado State University Chapter installation. Rattle I was given to the Illinois Chapter at the 1967 Convention to display for a year. At succeeding national meetings, Rattle I was transferred to the next chapter in order of installation so that members who have never seen either Rattle can enjoy it. Because of the great interest in the Rattles and because so few members from distant chapters attend installations, presentation of Rattle II as well as Rattle I had been made a national meeting activity. However, at the 1988 National Meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska, it was decided that Rattle I and Rattle II would be kept on display in the National Headquarters, while the University of Texas/Arlington Chapter would begin Rattle III and pass it to the two newest chapters at the time at Texas A&M and Michigan Technological University for their additions. Since then, Rattle III has been passed on to subsequently installed chapters.
Fraternity records of the rattle are incomplete. In the September 1923 issue of Triangle Review, following the Armour installation, is a picture of the new rattle. The idea was to start with the rough unfinished casting and have each chapter add something before they passed it on to the new baby chapter. Some of the things done were:
- Polishing of the casting
- Mounting on a wooden base
- Inscription of the names of the Founders
- List of the chapters
- Adding of the telescope
- Adding of the fraternity coat of arms
- Plugging of the hole and the insertion of a piece of metal in the hollow cylinder at the top to make it “rattle”
Chapter Additions to the Rattles
As the Rattle is passed on from chapter to chapter continual additions are made to mark the installation of a new chapter. As the rattles continue to grow they are retired to Triangle National Headquarters and a new rattle is created to take it’s place. Since the creation of The Rattle there have been four separate versions. More information on the history of each rattle and individual chapter additions can be found below.
Any brothers with further information about the various additions to the rattles are encouraged to submit the information to the National Office or to National Historian Kevin Fong.