The following is an excerpt from Palmer C. Ricketts's History of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
"Inquiries having been made, from time to time, for the coat-of-arms of the Institute for the use in the decoration of rooms in university clubs in various cities, one was originated in 1904. It was designed by R.C. Sturgis, architect, of Boston. He squeezed up the coat of arms of Stephen Van Rensselaer vertically, to the top of the shield, and below it placed the three vertical strips using the Institute colors cherry and white. As at that time, the civil was the only engineering course given, the surveyor's target was used on the white middle trip. The legend "Knowledge and Thoroughness" was used by the director because these words seemed to cover two characteristics developed by the Institute course. "Some time afterward J.J. Albright, of Buffalo, a graduate, wanted a crest for the decoration of a room in a Buffalo club. For this purpose two concentric circles were put around the shield and "Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1824" placed between them. [p.184-185]