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First Insignia -Totem Pins

For years and years generations of Arrowmen have swapped, exchanged and collected Order of the Arrow cloth and felt badges. Over 2,000 new pieces of OA insignia are issued every single year, many primarily for trading. However, while most Arrowmen and collectors of OA memorabilia only think of cloth badges, the earliest insignia of the Order were pins. The reason why it was pins in the beginning is because Wimachtendienk started as a fraternal organization, and pins were the insignia of choice for fraternities. The simple silver arrow pin served very much like a fraternity pledge pin.

First Totem

A requirement from the beginning has been that each lodge shall have a totem. Totems would later become a required element for insignia. While today’s lodge sometimes issue patches without their lodge totem on them, it is not the standard practice and it was virtually unheard of pre-1970. At the first ceremony on July 16, 1915 both Goodman and Edson wore tortoise shaped totems on their ceremonial robes. The 1916 Wimachtendienk Constitution specified the tortoise as their totem.

First (White) Sash

There are no known examples or photographs of the original black sash with white bar or arrow on it.

The earliest photograph known showing a Wimachtendienk sash being worn is 1919. This photo was taken at Treasure Island at the Council Fire Ring during a Friday evening public First Degree induction ceremony. The photograph is black and white and shows a white background sash with a dark arrow on it. Because the colors red and black have the same value in black and white photography there is no way to know if the arrows on the sashes in this early photo are black or red.

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