Skip to main content

Insignia

Patch Trading

Nobody knows when the first swap of Order of the Arrow emblems took place, but it had to be soon after the first badges of Wimachtendienk appeared. In the early years there was no trading of OA insignia. The first insignia in 1916 were pins. Pins were made of silver or gold. They were relatively expensive, certainly when compared to patches. An Unami Lodge gold Second Degree pin in 1919 might have cost $2.00; the cost of 20 die-cut felt camp monogram patches. No one was trading them with each other.

Awards, Background, Insignia, National Event, OA, Profile, Scouting


OA Patches Approved for Uniform Wear

While patches are now pervasive in the Order of the Arrow, at the beginning of 1945, Arrowmen were still prohibited from wearing any OA patch on their uniform. This was related to the independence of the Order from national BSA. The BSA Uniform Committee had not permitted WWW patches on the uniform and the National Lodge dutifully requested compliance. However as often is the case, not everyone complied.

3, Insignia, OA, Scouting


Third (and last) Official Jeweler

The Order of the Arrow beginning in 1922 had selected an Official OA Jeweler, to make insignia including totem pins. The first jeweler was the National Jewelry Company. In 1927 The Grand Lodge selected Hood and Company as the second Jeweler. In Early 1945 Jennings Hood sold his company to J.E. Caldwell and Company and went to work for them. His stunning jeweler dies were retained; the back die was changed to show the new hallmark.

2, Insignia, OA, Scouting


First Official Uniform Insignia

Even though the Order had existed for over a quarter century and had always used insignia, it was not until 1942 that Arrowmen could “officially” wear any OA item on the uniform. In a sign of the growing importance of the expanding official Scout program, the BSA Uniform Committee authorized the Universal Arrow Ribbon. The first Universal Arrow Ribbon was very similar to what is still used today. It was made to fit over the right shirt pocket button and was a red and white silk ribbon with a sterling arrow.

3, Insignia, OA, Scouting


First Flap - Ajapeu Lodge

Over the years there have been over 25,000 different flap shaped badges made for the OA. In total over ten million (10,000,000) patches have been made, worn, and of course, traded. The members of Ajapeu Lodge, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, wore the first of all of those flaps on their uniform shirts. It was also against BSA insignia guidelines.

2, Insignia, OA, Scouting


Change in Vigil Honor Totem

At the 1931 Grand Lodge Meeting the delegates unanimously passed a motion to change the Third Degree (Vigil Honor) symbol from a triangle to an arrowhead with arrow superimposed on it, upon which was placed the totem of the local lodge. There is no evidence that the new Vigil Honor totem was ever used or produced and this action was reversed at the next Grand Lodge Meeting in 1933. Nine years later this design concept became the basis of the design of the Distinguished Service Award.

3, Awards, Insignia, OA, Scouting


Second Official Jeweler

In 1927, the Grand Lodge selected Hood and Company of Philadelphia as the second Official Jeweler of the Order. Hood and Company with Arrowman Jennings Hood proprietor replaced the National Jewelry Company. Hood and Company made the silver arrow pins worn by all members as well as the Brotherhood Honor / Second Degree and Vigil Honor / Third Degree totem pins for individual lodges.

3, Insignia, OA, Scouting


First Grand Lodge Membership Card

With the formation of the Grand Lodge there was a desire for a Wimachtendienk membership card that could be used by those lodges that did not choose to print their own cards.

According to the minutes of the Grand Lodge Session at Camp Linstead, Baltimore, MD, on October 12-13, 1923: 

3, Insignia, OA, Scouting


First Meeting of the Grand Lodge

In 1921 Wimachtendienk, W.W. (a common way at the time of referring to what we know as the Order of the Arrow) was ready to have a national structure. Patterned similar to the Freemasons, it was decided that each lodge would become a member of the Grand Lodge. On October 7 and 8, 1921, the first Grand Lodge Meeting hosted by the Philadelphia lodges, Unami and Unalachtigo was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and at their Camp Biddle. These meetings would later become known as National Meetings and are the distant predecessors of today’s NOACs.

1, Ceremonies, Elections, Founders, Goodman, Insignia, National Event, OA, Scouting


First Vigil Honor Sash

The only known photograph of the original sash for Third Degree (Vigil Honor) members is from the rededication council fire at Camp Biddle during the 1921 first meeting of the Grand Lodge. The photo shows the three part “bib” type sash around both E. Urner Goodman’s and Carroll A. Edson’s necks. One side of the triangle had an arrow pointing over the right shoulder signifying the First Degree. One side of the triangle had an arrow pointing over the left shoulder signifying the Second Degree. The third side of the triangle had an arrow pointing to Goodman’s left as he wore it. The third arrow and side completed the triangle, which was the sign of the Third Degree. There are no other known pictures showing this bib; nor are there any known bib type sashes in collections or displays. There is also no evidence that anyone other than Goodman and Edson ever wore this sash.

3, Insignia, OA, Scouting


First Membership Cards

To the best of our knowledge the Wimachtendienk did not issue membership cards prior to the formation of the Grand Lodge in 1921. However, there is an example of a receipt for dues paid that dates back to 1918-19.

3, Insignia, OA, Scouting


First Sash (Black)

One of the enduring mysteries of the early days of the Wimachtendienk is the question of what the very first sashes of our Order looked like. There are two differing written accounts, both from extremely reliable eyewitnesses that were present at the beginning in 1915. Harry Yoder, the first guide and charter member of the Order, wrote circa 1921,

3, Insignia, OA, Scouting