Masonic apron, third quarter 18th century
Photo courtesy of Virginia...
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Photo courtesy of Virginia Whelan

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The apron is of two layers of silk: a surface or upper layer printed with polychrome images; the lining or backing of pale blue silk. The apron is bound on all edges by a pale blue silk tape. The same kind of tape is attached at the upper corners to form ties.

The printed image combines the emblems of Masonry and rococo design elements. Among them are the temple with a checkered floor, the pyramid, the sun and moon, the compass and square, twin columns bearing the letters J and B for the names Jakin and Boaz (the names of the two columns at the entrance to Solomon's temple). Flanking the columns are paired blue bowknots from which hang a sword and sheath, compass, protractor, plumb bob, mallet and trowel. At the center of the apron, nine stars and the acacia branch that represents the life centers of inferior and superior man. At the top of the apron is a placket printed with other emblems, including the beehive that symbolizes the Masonic lodge, a globe wrapped with a serpent, and a cluster of tools. [Information from Manly P. Hall, Masonic Orders of Fraternity, The Philosophical Research Society (, and Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia (]
Connection to Franklin
Believed to have been worn by Franklin when he was a member of the Lodge of the Nine Sister Terms of Use Credits