Insignia

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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.

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.

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.

History of Pocket Flap

It is strongly recommended by the National Committee that these emblems be made to fit the shape of the right shirt pocket flap. The right shirt pocket flap has been approved by the National Committee on Badges and Insignia for official Order of the Arrow Insignia where the other emblems are only temporary insignia when used on the uniform. It should be realized that this is a great advantage and a compliment to the Order of the Arrow. -THE ORDER OF THE ARROW HANDBOOK pp. 64 & 72, 1954 printing, 1950 edition

In the 1930s the Scout uniform was a showcase for all sorts of colorful Scouting related insignia on the shoulders, sleeves, and collars, as well as above and on the pockets. In fact, the only areas of the Scout uniform spared from this potpourri of decoration were the back of the shirt and pocket flaps. The pocket flap eventually became the official location for wearing Order of the Arrow insignia, but not without a few twists and turns.

First Vigil Honor Certificates

At the 1938 National Lodge Meeting, Thomas Cairns introduced the idea of presenting a certificate to each Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow (OA). The National Lodge approved the idea and gave Cairns the authority to have the certificates printed and presented.

Thomas Cairns

Thomas Cairns was inducted into Unami Lodge at Treasure Island Scout Reservation. Cairns served many years on camp staff at Treasure Island and on August 26, 1927 became the Order’s 63rd Third (Vigil Honor) Degree member. Cairns' Vigil Honor name was Achigiguwen “To Be Jocular”. In 1933 at the Chicago Grand Lodge Meeting Cairns was elected the Order’s ninth Grand Lodge Chieftain serving an extended three-year term to accommodate the scheduled 1935 National Jamboree. It was in this position that Cairns made his most significant contributions to the Order.

OA Requests First Uniform Insignia

As of January 1940, the Order of the Arrow still was not authorized to wear any insignia on a Boy Scout uniform. Totem pins, the official insignia since the beginning of WWW, were only authorized for civilian wear. Few emblems existed. The patches that did exist were typically simple emblems worn on sweaters, breach cloths, or jackets. While some Arrowmen did wear badges on their Scout uniforms, they were worn in violation of National Lodge and BSA rules.

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.

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.

First Approval for Patches

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.

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