"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Masonic Metal Artisans

“And King Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. He was a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to King Solomon, and wrought all his work. . .  In the plain of Jordan did the King cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarthan.”
This fraternity is blessed with an abundance of talented craftsmen in all sorts of creative fields. Metalwork has always fascinated me, in part because its mysteries have always eluded my own feeble attempts. In recent weeks I've encountered three beautiful examples of Masonic artists working in metal to create works for the fraternity.

On Facebook this week, Brother Robert Todd in Edmunton, Alberta posted this fascinating steel fire pit he fabricated (see photo above). It features the Masonic square and compass, the logo of Shriners International, and a Royal Arch symbol.

What makes any lodge special are the gifts its members bring and add to its many  treasures collected ever since receiving its charter 10, 50, or 150 years ago. Those gifts personalize and make every lodge unique from any other.


Several months ago when I visited Salem Lodge in Salem, Indiana (the Mother lodge of PGM Dwight L. Smith), I was smitten with their 
officer rod floor stands, individually designed for each station's by one of their members. If someone can let me know his name, I'll be happy to add it here. I've never seen anything like them before or since.

Last Sunday, Brother Bill Corey dropped by my table at the Indiana Masonic Home Festival and handed me this handmade square and compass (photo above). Bill is a blacksmith, and he fabricated a steel lewis several months ago, along with other Masonic-related items. I mentioned that a rough, hand-made square and compass would be appropriate for the recently opened 1860s Wild Cat Masonic Lodge Room up at Adams Mill in Cutler, Indiana. He was happy to oblige with this beautiful work. 

It started life as an old rusty nail.

Speaking of Adam's Mill...

While not crafted by a Brother Mason, I also want highlight this beautiful punched tin lantern featuring the square and compass, letter G, the 47th problem of Euclid, and more. It was made by tin craftsman Bruce Panek of Columbus, Ohio. We'll use it to illuminate the 'G' in open lodge in the historic lodge room at the Mill. Panek made a large number of these for the Grand lodge of Ohio's bicentennial celebration a few years ago, and they were used as traveling visitation trophies to encourage lodges to visit each other in their various districts there.

I met Mr. Panek at Lafayette's Feast of the Hunter's Moon a few years ago. These type of 18th century fairs and recreation events are the perfect place to connect with artisans who specifically work in historic craft designs.

Brother Lee Tweedie illuminates the G at Adam's Mill

Historic Wild Cat Lodge Room at Adam's Mill

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