Index to Brother George Washington's Masonic Apron

 When the young Marquis de Lafayette came to America at the age of 20 and joined George Washington's army for the Battle of Brandywine in 1777, the American cause had become his cause. The affection each man held for the other is legend.   So too is the legacy of Masonic history developed through that affection.The Lafayette Apron, of white satin and embroidered by Madame Lafayette, was presented to Bro. Washington by Bro. Lafayette in August of 1784.The apron was presented to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania by the Washington Benevolent Society on July 3, 1829 and is now on display in the Grand Lodge Museum at the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia. 

It is a study in symbolism.  For example, the apron border colors of red, white and blue are the national colors of both the United States and France.Symbols are silent emblems having meaning only when interpreted.  Given the unique character of the interpretation process, it can be understood that no symbol has absolute meaning.In preparing the following, Bro Frank W. Bobb, Grand Lodge librarian and curator, has used those meanings most widely accepted my Masonic scholars in interpreting the symbolism of the Washington Apron. 


1.   RED symbolizes courage, zeal, the blood of life, and fire.  It is the color of Royal Arch    Masonry. 

2.   WHITE has throughout the ages represented purity and innocence. 

3.   BLUE has been esteemed since antiquity as a beneficent color, denoting immortality, eternity, chastity and fidelity.  It is the color of Symbolic Masonry, "the Blue Lodge." 

4.   ALL-SEEING EYE, a symbol of watchfulness and the Supreme Being. 

5.   RAYS or Glory, symbolic of the power of the Supreme Being to penetrate the innermost reaches Of the human heart. 

6.   RAINBOW is sometimes associated with the Royal Arch.  It is also part of the architectural arch, being the 9th arch under Solomon's Temple.  It is supported by two Pillars (see No.8). 

7.   MOON, one of the Lesser Lights in Freemasonry.  The Moon governs and rules the night. 

8.   PILLARS OF ENOCH, Enoch, fearing that the principles of the arts and sciences might be lost, erected two pillars, the one of marble to withstand fire, the other of brass to resist water.  On each he engraved that which he feared would be lost.  The Gloves are 
symbols of  Unity and Peace and Plenty. (See also No 37) 

9.   PILLARS B. and J. were within the porch of King Solomon's Temple.  Boaz the name 
of the left pillar means "in strength"; the right pillar, Jachin, means "God will establish" 
(see also No.38).  The globe on the left pillar represents earth; that on the right, heaven. 
 These brazen pillars with their globes are today the columns of the Senior and Junior Wardens. 

10.  DOVE in early Masonry is a symbol of Noah's messenger.  In ancient symbolism, the 
dove represented  purity and  innocence. 

11.  FORTY-SEVENTH PROBLEM OF EUCLID'S first book of geometry.  It is said that when Pythagoras solved the problem he exclaimed. "Eureka!," which signifies "I have found it."  It is, however,  not a problem, but a theorem.  It has been adopted as the symbol on the Past Master Mason's Jewel  in Pennsylvania (The Ahiman Rezon, Art XVI, Sec. 3 & 4). 

12.  HOPE is sometimes shown as a female with an anchor, also as an anchor near the ark. 
 ANCHOR, an emblem of a well-grounded hope and a well-spent life.  With hope, an Anchor holds  the soul both sure and steadfast. 

13.  PLUMB, the proper Masonic Jewel of the Junior Warden, admonishes us to walk uprightly  before God and man.  It is one of the working tools of operative Masons, used to try perpendiculars. 

14.  JACOB'S LADDER without a clouded canopy or star-decked heaven, which he saw in a vision ascending from earth to heaven.  The three principal rounds are denominated FAITH, HOPE, and CHARITY. 

15.  SQUARE WITHIN BOUNDS is a symbol formed by four stonemason's squares of equal arms superimposed one on the other to form a central square.  This symbol has not been found in American or English books of  Masonic symbolism and therefore may well be of French origin. There has been no interpretation found for it to date. 

16.  LIGHTS or BURNING TAPERS, like the three principal Lodge officers, refer undoubtedly to the  three stations of the sun, its rising in the East (Worshipful Master), its meridian in the  South (Junior Warden), and its setting in the West (Senior Warden). (See also Nos. 30 & 31) 

17.  TROWEL, a working tool of the operative mason, is used symbolically for spreading the  cement of Brotherly love and affection. 





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