Benjamin Franklin’s Trowel

Mid-18th Century
Antique artifact of Benjamin Franklins Trowel.

This trowel was found in the vault of the old United States Bank by:

MW Daniel D. Tompkins
Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York 1820-1822
Vice President of the United States of America 1817-1825
Governor of the State of New York 1807-1817

Grand Master Tompkins presented this trowel either to Franklin Lodge No. 447, or to MW Nathaniel Waring, who in turn presented it to Franklin Lodge, a Lodge still in existence today.

Engraved on the face of the trowel is:
“Masonic Trowel used by Benjamin Franklin in his Lodge –
Presented to Franklin Lodge No. 447 F&AM
by MW Nathaniel F. Waring.”

MW Benjamin Franklin
Provincial Grand Master of Masons in Pennsylvania
1734, 1749 and 1760.
He was a member of St. John’s Lodge in Philadelphia.

In France, he affiliated with The Lodge of the Nine Sisters, The Lodge of the Good Friends and The Respectable Lodge of Saint John of Jerusalem. He was an inventor, a printer, a statesman, an ambassador and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He founded the Leather Apron Club in 1727.

In 1734, he re-printed the 1723 Anderson’s Constitutions. His printing of this was the first Masonic Book printed in America.

In 1857, Most Worshipful Nathaniel F. Waring was the Grand Master of the Phillips Grand Lodge, a schism Grand Lodge of New York which existed from 1849-1858. The Phillips Grand Lodge was started by the protest of some Lodges against the loss of Past Masters’ vote in Grand Lodge, a previous practice deemed unfair to the upstate membership, for whom travel to the Grand Lodge Sessions is much more difficult than New York City area members.

At the Union in 1858, the Phillips Grand Lodge Officers were granted legal Past Grand Officer status.

Don’t miss the Apron Exhibit in the Wendell Walker Lounge
on the ground floor of Masonic Hall where on display are the Masonic Aprons of both
MW Daniel D. Tompkins and MW Isaac Phillips.

Note: Image and data by Catherine M. Walter, Curator