The color purple has, for centuries, often been associated with power, royalty, wealth, and strength. Engineers have a time-tested tradition of soaking themselves with purple dye. This is done to commemorate the honorable engineer Kahotep.
An ancient Egyptian story tells that Kahotep was an Egyptian scholar who is estimated to have lived around 3500 B.C. By today’s standards, he would have been considered to be a mineral engineer, as he built wells in many town not directly along the Nile.
One time he was summoned to the small town of El-Amarna to investigate a problem with a well he built there. The people of the town were complaining that the water they brought up was not clear, and had a low purple hue. Upon investigation, Kahotep discovered that it was caused by a large deposit of Lapis Lazuli, saturated in the water.
Lapis lazuli was a valuable gem thought only to be found in ancient Mesopotamia at the that time. Kahotep informed the nobles of this find and he was commissioned, along with dozens of men, to find more deposits. Because of his discovery and the immense success of his mining operations,
Egypt quickly flourished to become a leading economic power, particularly due to its trade in jewelry. Today, engineers all over the world dye themselves purple, symbolizing the purple water that was discovered in Egypt. We remember the huge impact that engineers have on society through our discoveries and inventions.