Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Masonic Knights Templar costume & sword Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Mon 23 Sep, 2013 8:24 am    Post subject: Masonic Knights Templar costume & sword         Reply with quote

Friends,
I recently put together a relatively complete MKT costume including coat, sash, sword, sword belt, and gloves (belt & gloves not pictured). The coat came with the two hats shown below -- one a kepi, the other a bicorn.

I plan on wearing this set out soon, but haven't yet found any information (other than a brief mention by Whalen 1987) about which hat was worn on which occassions. Are any of you familiar with MKT practices, and know when each of these hats would have been worn? Nearly all historic photos of MKT members show them wearing the bicorn, which looks more impressive anyway, but I'd like also to know when the kepi was worn.

Any references would be appreciated. Thanks, r

Notes: http://www.forensicfashion.com/1888AmericanFreemason.html

http://ForensicFashion.com/CostumeStudies.html
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,821

PostPosted: Mon 23 Sep, 2013 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What you are calling a kepi is a fatigue hat vs the feathered "dress" hat. Fatigue hat for general purpose about the lodge, general meetings etc. If you follow army military fashions, this one looks Spanish American war period but I could be mistaken. I am not really that much of a uniform buff.

Both appeared in great variety over the decades. Look to old regalia catalogs and advertisements.

Morally, I guess it is no different than costuming in military or other uniforms but doing so as a Sir Knight may seem more offensive to a fraternal group, especially if that is a named sword (of course a lineage of the sword would be great to have).

You may enjoy
http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/

Cheers

GC
View user's profile Send private message
Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,216

PostPosted: Mon 23 Sep, 2013 1:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I assume you are a Mason of that rank or there would be no reason to wear the uniform otherwise. Am I correct in that?
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
View user's profile Send private message
Steven Janus




Location: Florida, USA
Joined: 12 Mar 2008

Posts: 185

PostPosted: Mon 23 Sep, 2013 1:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm sure it's somewhere in Morals and Dogma. Great ole' Albert Pike, yup Wink
Newbie Sword collector
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail MSN Messenger
Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Mon 23 Sep, 2013 2:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Glen A Cleeton What you are calling a kepi is a fatigue hat vs the feathered "dress" hat. Fatigue hat for general purpose about the lodge, general meetings etc.
Thanks Glen. Are those the official terms for them among masons? I've always understood the smaller hat's shape to be called a 'kepi' or 'forage cap.'

Quote:
Glen A Cleeton If you follow army military fashions, this one looks Spanish American war period but I could be mistaken.
It does look essentially similar to masonic uniforms in photos from ca.1880s-1920s. Its cut and fit are also very similar to my late 18thc American frock coat, but I have no reason to believe it's that old.


Quote:
Glen A Cleeton Morally, I guess it is no different than costuming in military or other uniforms but doing so as a Sir Knight may seem more offensive to a fraternal group
Lin Robinson or there would be no reason to wear the uniform otherwise.
That's how I see it; it's historical costuming with an emphasis on legitimate research -- something everyone has a moral right to do. I could see it being offensive if someone were pretending to a rank or association he wasn't part of, but of course I don't do that with any costume character I portray. None of my masonic friends have a problem with this, especially after I point out that these objects can be found regularly at flea markets, antique malls, and online...! Surprised

At any rate, the sword was my first ever antique purchase, nearly 20 years ago, and I've been wanting to costume it ever since. While I've often encountered these uniforms for sale, I hadn't found one in my size until now. The coat needs some buttons replaced and the gloves need re-stitching, but otherwise the kit is ready to go and I'm quite excited to have finally completed it. Happy

http://ForensicFashion.com/CostumeStudies.html
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,821

PostPosted: Mon 23 Sep, 2013 9:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With the sash, belt and and sword; the fancy hat. Otherwise the other.

One can debate the differences between a kepi and forage or fatigue hat but the use if the term kepi pretty much belongs pretty much in the American Civil war. The difference between a forage and fatigue as well could be debated. Call it what you like but the plainer hat for no sash, belt and sword. Before the ACW, a forage cap instead of a hard shako then the kepi regarded the forage (soft walls) and a forage an adoption of the tall shakos (but still tall). Anyway, since we are talking "officer" vs trooper, the terms pretty much out the window anyway.

If your buddies are freemasons, why are you asking here? Visit a local lodge and talk to the top guys. Their historians are going to be a lot more familiar with changes and use in regalia. Again, you could be shagging old catalogs and ad copy.

Cheers

GC
View user's profile Send private message
Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Tue 24 Sep, 2013 6:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, those friends are masons but not Masonic Knights Templar, and at any rate don't have as much historical interest in documenting costume or sword development within the tradition -- all the more reason for people like us, who do have that interest, to do this work. At some point I'll schedule an appointment with a lodge and possibly study their archives, but my current work & research schedule plus various other commitments (including other costume projects) make that unlikely in the near future.

These days I generally avoid asking for help online unless I have to, but this was a case where my initial investigating turned up short. It was more practical to get quick answers before investing alot of time and effort vetting this kit, so I really do appreciate your help. Happy

http://ForensicFashion.com/CostumeStudies.html
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,821

PostPosted: Tue 24 Sep, 2013 7:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ruel A. Macaraeg wrote:
Well, those friends are masons but not Masonic Knights Templar, and at any rate don't have as much historical interest in documenting costume or sword development within the tradition -- all the more reason for people like us, who do have that interest, to do this work. At some point I'll schedule an appointment with a lodge and possibly study their archives, but my current work & research schedule plus various other commitments (including other costume projects) make that unlikely in the near future.

These days I generally avoid asking for help online unless I have to, but this was a case where my initial investigating turned up short. It was more practical to get quick answers before investing alot of time and effort vetting this kit, so I really do appreciate your help. Happy


I am not sure whom us is but if your buddies are masons, make sure they mention all this in passing to their masters when they look to advance.

As mentioned a couple of times, old ads (newspapers, periodicals) on the net are widespread for the 1900 period regarding regalia and will supplement easy image searches.

You well know you get what you put into research, so if a superficial but somewhat accurate appearance does it for you, that's great. I would suggest ebay for the sword belt and hangers. To be truthful, you are better of looking for an entire kit left behind by some family. Anything else will be a composite effort. I guess it doesn't really matter for play acting.

Cheers

GC
View user's profile Send private message
Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Tue 24 Sep, 2013 8:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I do serious costume research, not "play acting" (published academically, have lectured at Harvard, etc.etc.), but I appreciate the reminder nonetheless. Happy

My belt is from the Holyrood Commandery in Cleveland, while my sword is also from Ohio -- Pettibone Bros. of Cincinnati. The costume set looks generally consistent with those in the few historic photos from that area which I've found online: These show some minor variances (mostly in the breast -- lapels vs full facing buttons) but are otherwise similar in cut and fit. There's also some variation in accessories, but I'm given to understand that these were often individually commissioned and so this is to be expected.

My kit falls within these variances, largely because I've made the effort to let the research guide my acquisitions. Therefore, I don't feel unjustified in saying it's reasonably accurate, or at least is within reach of reasonable accuracy, enough that I can incorporate it into my current line of theoretical writing. Further research will improve it, I'm sure, but I'm confident I'm on the right track and am excited to be able to incorporate this important tradition into my studies. To my knowledge, freemasonry hasn't been brought into consideration by fashion historians, and doing so in the context of my particular work should yield some positive insights.

http://ForensicFashion.com/CostumeStudies.html
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Josh Wilson




Location: WV
Joined: 01 Nov 2010
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 138

PostPosted: Tue 24 Sep, 2013 2:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Ruel,

I just thought I would add my .02c worth...

It is my belief that if you just found some black or matching blue pants and a regular white dress shirt from the 1880-1900 period (which this looks to me) that it would complete your uniform. I say this because most of these uniforms were quasi/para-military style uniforms...much like bell boys, chauffeurs, marching band members, etc. who wear regular "modern" clothing with a military looking uniform over coat.

If you hope to do research on this...remember not to just seek help at a Masonic Lodge, but from a York Rite lodge to do your research. A Blue lodge, as they are known, probably won't be much help to you. It is an interesting topic, Masonic clothing, but probably won't be a very deep subject. "Modern" fashions are what folks will be wearing at lodge.

("Modern" being what is currently fashionable for a gentleman in any given year)


P.S.
There seem to have been a LOT of fraternal sword manufacturers in Ohio during the 19th and 20th C, I wonder why they all seem to be concentrated in OH.....
View user's profile Send private message
Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Tue 24 Sep, 2013 3:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Josh. I wasn't aware that Ohio was a major producer of swords from that time; could it be because of ready access to steel? Like nearby Pittsburgh, that region had ready supplies of Great Lakes iron ore and Appalachian coal. I'm embarrassed to say that though I run across fraternal swords often at antique shops, flea markets, gun shows, etc., I haven't really paid attention to their maker's marks. I'll be sure to do so more in the future.

I agree with your observation about uniform pants also. Most old photos generally don't show pants or footwear clearly, but I think we can extrapolate from the kinds of examples you mentioned. More broadly, I'm interested in how this particular combination of frock coat, bicorn hat, and dress sword became adopted as ceremonial wear for a very disparate set of institutions during the later 19thc, including the courts of Russia, Japan, and Siam. They clearly contrast with the "modern" working uniforms of that time, so what message did these uniforms communicate in terms of social position and legitimacy? Was that message the same in all these contexts? These questions are so far unexplored. Below for comparison are King Mongkut (with his successor-to-be Chulalongkorn) and Emperor Meiji in similar uniforms:

(Oddly, I've just finished Siamese kits from just before and just after Mongkut's reign, but not Mongkut's itself:
http://www.forensicfashion.com/1782SiameseCavalry.html and http://www.forensicfashion.com/1910SiameseCourtier.html )

And you're right also about MKT being an order specific to the York Rite. There's a large York hall in downtown Ft.Worth not far from me, though it's unclear whether they welcome public inquiries. Once I get the minor repairs done on my coat & gloves, I'll send a friendly email and see what information they might have to share.

Thanks again, r

http://ForensicFashion.com/CostumeStudies.html
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Masonic Knights Templar costume & sword
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum