First Approval for Patches

Badges are Approved for Second Degree Members Only

Up until 1926, pins were the only insignia approved for use by Arrowmen. This had been the rule in both the first Constitution of Wimachtendienk in 1916 and the constitution framed at the 1921 Grand Lodge Meeting. When the Order expanded to a dozen lodges at least two of them desired patches as insignia.

As is often the case with novel insignia, the first patch was issued before official approval. Minsi Lodge in Reading, Pennsylvania was the first to act. Around 1922 the lodge issued the first of their wolf head chenille with black arrow embroidered on felt patches. A member of Minsi Lodge, A. J. Brown, made the motion to the Grand Lodge that would enable patches to be made. The motion read, 

That the Grand Lodge authorize any lodge to adopt as a felt emblem, the second degree totem of the said lodge with an arrow superimposed thereon and pointing to the left.

The motion went on,

That no felt emblem of the first degree be authorized by the Grand Lodge or used by the local lodges.

This explains why the few OA patches known from the 1920s are so rare. Besides being old, First Degree (Ordeal Honor) members did not get them. Only Second Degree and Third Degree (Brotherhood Honor and Vigil Honor) Arrowmen received badges. And since trading patches had not really started no one needed more than one of them. Patches had not replaced pins. Pins remained the official insignia. Neither the Grand Lodge nor the BSA authorized patches for wear on the uniform. That would have to wait nearly twenty more years.