Robert Scot & Philadephia Artisans Create Special Steel Engraved Dies
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I was able to distinguish 3 different types of 1789-1797 George Washington and New Nation Tribute Commemorative buttons made for America’s inaugural celebration. The first type and most commonly found George Washington inaugural and New Nation Tribute button is America’s 1st Celebratory button. This was made for America’s Aristocrats and newly landed Gentry. Since, these were an expensive item, it probably wasn’t made for the general populace or rising individuals not affiliated with their neighborhood Masonic Lodge. The original steel dies were engraved by Robert Scot and his Philadelphia Artisans. Subsequent dies were probably made by other guild members as replacements were needed. After the dies were engraved, they were shipped across the Atlantic to be manufactured in one of two places. Either at Robert Scot’s fathers Lodge in Scotland, Canongate; or the dies were sent to Birmingham, England where the button manufacturers already had established agreements for raw materials in place as well as being able to properly manufacture. I question England because they would have not have had the need to stamp or roll press buttons with their advanced button making machinery. Since, Canongate Lodge was the mecca for Gentry artisans of most European nations. They also had a regular supply of raw materials and could have easily ordered planchets. In my opinion, with the Robert Scot ties within the artistry worldly community this is where the inaugural buttons were probably originally made. I know Birmingham England definitely made inaugural celebratory buttons in subsequent years, and also for anniversary issues. They did have a very strong Jacobite movement in England, and sympathizers through Masonic or Gentry ties could have completed the order. But, i keep going back to the steel dies were stamped or rolled on the planchet, if Birmingham why not the machinery? Always leads me to believe canongate would have been Robert Scot’s first choice for more then just production reasons. The Scot’s won their war and have their New Republic, what better way then to make a tribute button for the event. Constitution and Federal government.
The second type of George Washington inaugural or New Nation Tribute button appears to have been made here in America. These button’s design engravings are very close to the originals, except they lack guild artisan level of design and are lathe turned. America was known for lathe turned button reverses and and these GWI or NNY buttons can be identified by a series of circles cut into the reverse. I call these, “American Made Apprentice Practice Renditions.”
The third and last type is the rarest George Washington inaugural or New Nation Tribute button. These were very limited in production and only a handful are known to exist. These buttons should be viewed as an engraver tribute button to Scottish Royal and Masonic Culture. These special buttons are the only ones that carry the engraver’s signature maker mark, as well as Scottish Royal or Masonic Culture symbols.These celebratory buttons were most likely made for certain Gentry members of certain Masonic Lodges. Most likely, Philadelphia, Virginia, and South Carolina. I have my reasons for these states. I call these limited GWI and NNT buttons The Special Masonic Celebratory Set. It would be reasonable to say they were intended to give tribute to the Freemason brothers who worked in a positive constructive manor and able through their Gentry or political positions to help America establish a federal government and provide help to James Madison in drafting a US Constitution with derived parts from the Masonic Constitution.
The first set was produced in England or Scotland at Canongate Lodge were specifically made as a Propaganda Celebratory Commemorative button for the American market place. What I mean by this is that is would introduce into society Federal insignia for the roots of a new culture with New Ideals. Since, the original steel dies were engraved here in America by Robert Scot, and his Philadelphia Artisans it ensured that the Scottish Royal Culture wold be properly masked under the Allusion of America’s new federal insignia. The point of this endeavor is to ensure America’s Sovereignty in the future. The heraldry mask of Ancient symbols of Scottish Royal Culture could not have been sent in an illustrated drawing because the dies could have been altered by the manufacturer’s engravers which would not ensure the intent of each designed symbol. I also believe Robert Scot purposefully did not have any back marks placed on the buttons so America could have a clean birth slate that was free of foreign nations assistance.
Robert’s Note: In this era, the elite Scottish families who controlled shipping of arboriculture and agriculture out of the 13 States didn’t own raw material processing mines, or complex metallurgy manufacturing for production of complex alloys. The American Colonists themselves were very limited in their manufacturing abilities, and all metal workings were mostly crude. Commoners who were Blacksmiths and Coppersmiths produced basic functional items for the needs of the colonists. This forgotten aspect is something button researchers should keep in mind while doing while formulating hypothesis. This raw material mining and manufacturing dynamic would not happen for many years to come in America.
Speculation: The transatlantic shipping time would also explain why GWI 1-A was engraved with the original planned inaugural date. They could not simply correspond to Scottish or British producers, and ask for the manufacturer’s Artisans to design a new die to be cut. Also, having a New Die designed and cut would never meet existing production timetables already in the works. The original die for GWI 1-A were done and sent. One thing is for certain, with the long established British partnerships within the colonies clothiers, when these celebratory buttons hit the eastern seaboard’s wharfs it went directly into the garment industries for immediate dispersement to substratum America as a Sovereign nation here and abroad. Jan 14, 2018. 11:02pm
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GWI 1-C Scottish-American Practice Rendition
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The second identified type of 1789 George Washington inaugural button is what I have come to believe are Scottish-American Apprentice Practice Renditions. As collector’s studied these unique variants in the past they were puzzled as to the nature of the button. They understood it was of period, but not matching the Master engravers associated skill level with the dies sent to England for production. Unfortunately, being cautious past GWI collectors aired on the side of caution in a market with technological breakthroughs in forgeries. So, these of period specimens which display the crude style mechanics of a lathe turn back should be looked at as the “Only period representation of an American-made GWI button.”
As of date, there are only 3 known varieties (GWI 1-A, 4-A, 13-E) which display lathe-turn reverse, but there can be others not in the public view as of date. Fortunately for serious GWI collectors there are several specimens of each variety known for study. It may not equal the craftsmanship, but I like the idea of American made for my collection. I believe Dale shares that sentiment.
These student artisan renditions are a little more complicated in discovering the true names of their makers. What I can offer honest researchers would be to look into very early 19th century insignia and buttons made for our Diplomats and Army in it’s infancy. Look for the reflection of their Master’s skills in them by the reflection of the Scottish-backed Artisan’s design, not the mechanics or quality of the button itself.
As for collectors fortunate enough to own these student renditions, you should note the advanced engraving skills displayed in these buttons are above folk-art level, but also not equal too the skills of their teachers. So, on faith you have to understand there will never be a clear-cut tie of these student’s names as apprentices to the Scottish Artisans Masters who made the original 1789 dies. What you can do is start crossing other later date Federal insignias, later date memorabilia, Wax seals, ect… Look for similar techniques of engraver cut styles which match the known Master engravers of the 1789-97 dies and colonial money which demonstrates Robert Scot’s anti-currency techniques.
Robert’s Note: Following the evidence of Scottish Artisan supplied federal insignia, we believe the original dies were contracted through Robert Scot who’s fellow Scottish-Artisans and other nationality guild artisans completed the other GWI & NNT designs. Hence, these student renditions are apprentices who are fine-tuning their craft for other commission work ahead. Their skills would need to have an expected style and understanding of Scottish Royal Culture and Ancient Religious history to match not only the skill level requirement, but comprehension to do work under Robert Scot’s Master Artisan umbrella. Being unbiased in our conclusions, we completely understand that other foreign nationalities in the New Republic had their own working Master Artisans operating on the same skill level as the Scottish and they were represented throughout the 13 colonies. With the promise of a new Enlightened Era, these multinational Master Artisans & their signature styles would have been known to each other, and collaborated their ideas in a positive network through friendships, and association in their own neighborhood Masonic lodges. The Masonic lodge provided a sort of welcoming mat and vehicle for all cultural & religions to join in the Spirit of constructiveness; in which they were able to utilize each others talents on various projects. One could say, Artisan Patriots energized constructively in their own neighborhood base network to promote a New Dawn. Infusing their knowledge of history and religion to give the necessary qualities in preparedness for the day America will move out of it’s infancy and into adulthood on the world’s stage. One could parallel the sentiment by the huge undertaking of the men who made it possible to land on the Moon for the 1st time in 1969. Now we are going into the galactic age with dreams of the colonization of Mars.
The third recognized GWI & NNT button steel dies were also made here in America by the same Scottish Artisans who had the foresight to infuse knowledge and embed religions in a multi-culture appeal to the future melting pot of our country. These Special GWI & NNT buttons had added meanings in celebration of what the new Era of Enlightenment offered in an intuitive nature of the sophisticated men who had the foresight of properly building a multicultural nation. As highlighted in several GWI & NNT button sections this 3rd set of buttons contain under Allusion the integration of the original celebratory purpose for the common man as well as the Scottish-Rite Masonic fellowship symbols of brotherhood. Not separating themselves from their patriot brothers with less education, but walking hand-in-hand and side by side into the New Era of Enlightenment.
As a Proud Freemason myself, I would like to say this was a Special Commemorative Set of buttons made specifically for the Scottish Gentry of Strict Observance to celebrate their contribution of providing a positive network in helping our founders solidly establishing a New Republic.
Even though It is common for Artisans to place their signature marks on their various works in history, these intuitive and innovated men felt no-need to glorify their roles and hid their guided accomplishments by God’s grace under the Allusion technique. So, one may even say it was a Signature Tribute Button for the Masonic brothers who were actively playing a part in establishing America, but for of us that was blessed to see there is more under the surface. There appears to be a further breakdown into 2 groups of Special Masonic God Blessed Buttons. First is the New Nation Tribute buttons NNT 2 & 15 have the Masonic symbols engraved into the button out of the veil of the human eye. I highlighted these for GWI collector’s recognition GWI 4, 13, 20, 21, 22, 24 which placed a Secret Artisan style of of the events that were taking place for America to be a Nation. As for my fellow collectors who see the light, I will give a quick example by the grace of Dale’s enlightenment to me. The most noted and cherished GWI button appears to be GWI 4-B.3. with the 3 touch marks gracing the border. This signifies 3 men meeting on a path in mutual respect and vision to build a country (Linked States) through the honorable deeds of George Washington at it’s center. Each button is a piece in a larger puzzle that tells a story of the true light that is behind the Allusions in the buttons. As seen in GWI 22, The religious symbol of the Honey Bee Hive which is a reflection of Scottish Royal Culture is embedded in the Liberty Cap, and the stipples off the floral is the Bees at work trying to provide our nation with the necessary work under the political veil of statesman who are limited in their actions. So, for now on. All researchers and collectors will have the tools they need to have access to the true Enlightenment that I was graced to have during my journey with Dale. From this point on, the money changers will be able to include the history and context of our Nations rising and make them TRULEY AMERICA’S MOST IMPORTANT ARTIFACT.