Who Made George Washington & New Nation Tribute Buttons
So, who made George Washington Inaugural, and New Nation Tribute Buttons?
This section is just going to give GWIB collectors an overview of my research, and not the direct answers that I will publish later with supporting evidence toward my findings. GWI button collectors have always believed that George Washington Inaugural, New Nation Tribute, Scottish Jacobite, and some religious buttons were crafted and designed by unknown “American-born” artisans and craftsman who made copper hardware, jewelry, and coins. This would be totally inaccurate and not the case for these types of buttons. One must put aside the aspect of American manufactures and look at who had the taught skills in engraving items during this era. These skills were safegaurded by families for centuries and only admission through birth or marriage allowed an individual to learn the secrets. Guilds in 18th century America were strictly controlled by a small set of family bloodline individuals who barred admittance to the general public. So, before we begin our journey, a collector must realize there is a distinguishable difference in the level of artistry between these types of celebratory buttons and other common manufactured buttons that were produced by a coppersmith, or blacksmith. These celebratory buttons which were made by Masons have a subcutaneous ancient secret meaning that was made to be purposefully overlook by a common person outside of Freemasonry. As one becomes a student of ancient history, we learn to understand where the Masons got their symbolism, and then go on to understand their true intent and meanings behind the depictions. Some buttons also have not so obvious symbols and makers marks that can only be viewed through magnification. Because of the engravers skills and the microscopic nature of these symbols or maker’s marks, they would not be apparent or noticed even by fellow Masons. We also see examples of hidden symbols and maker marks that are within built Masonic stone buildings structures, state and federal government currency (Plates) notes, coins, official seals, and maps. For thousands of years throughout the world personal family crests and seals would also have these non-apparent symbols secretly engraved. So for these historical GWI buttons a collector should note that each button holds both a historical subcutaneous meaning to the engravers as well as an obvious political statement to the common patriot. My historical research into these button’s symbols afforded me with a conclusion that there is 3 distinguishing types of buttons made for the celebration of events slated for April 30th 1789. So, before we begin, a collector must take note to the significance of Rattlesnake buttons that were made by Masons prior to 1789, and then it’s continuance afterward for a short period of time. These type of patriotic buttons represent a political statement that uses the Hebrew Tribe of Dan to illustrate the point of society eating itself. This is just straight forward for all collectors and historians understand. There is no hidden subcutaneous layer of meaning within that have secret Mason symbols or Scottish Jacobite attributions. From my research I have come to conclude that there are three types of celebratory 1789 buttons: George Washington Inaugural buttons, New Nation Tribute buttons, and Scottish Religious Jacobite buttons. Two of these three distinguishable buttons were produced and sold at the same time, and most likely offered for sale side by side. All three types of buttons were made by the same Master-Mason and group of Fellow-Craft level Masons. Each city operated a guild of 4-5 Fellow-Craft level Masons that were given contract work by the Master Mason who was awarded the contract. The Master Mason was usually the one who was the chief project architect, and would go to the different city guilds to start the various engraving projects with this fellow-Craft guild members. In this century, a person was only privy by marriage or birth to learning and obtaining the skills needed in what was called the ancient arts. These arts that were not known to the common Coppersmiths or blacksmiths past the rudimentary level. I was able to learn all these peoples names by studying other historical artifacts in the arts of map making, seal making, state currency plates, coins, and even portrait paintings. (Actually several other fields, but list would be a paragraph long). An important point to a serious researcher is that all these men had an association with Freemasonry, but this should not be an emphasis when studying these buttons aside from their member association. This way your not waisting time reading about Mason Organizations. Your emphases should be on who these men are that were inside of the engraving guild. Another important point to note is that only the Master Mason was responsible for the company of fellow-craft masons and the true holder of ALL the secret knowledge and skills in the engraving arts. Free-Craft level masons would only be taught what was necessary for the project that was worked on. This little distinction kept a sort of class structure at the time. So, one can conclude with the prominent social structure that was in place, it was irrelevant for public contract work to go around the Master Mason to a Fellow-Craft Mason that might have possessed gifted skills above his peers or Master. All guild work no matter what state you were in would have been commissioned under the one Master Mason’s name. To ensure they received the big money projects year after year the guild guarded their skills by keeping knowledge within extended families and barring entry to the local guilds. The common un-educated citizen was kept at a fundamental level of being a Coppersmith, or blacksmith. They would receive there unskilled work like weapons and tools. To these foreign-born social standing men, America was a work-address that they have braved across the ocean in order to make money, or an equitable return on their families investments. The ones that wanted to make America a home were looking to get out from under their counties guilds that would have already penetrated & saturated their commerce market. There are several other fields outside of engraving that attracted highly skilled artisans from other countries that a collector should note such as, watch making, or architecture (stone masonry). Remember, with a New Country like America there would be financial opportunity to make highly skilled products, and these foreigners had the secret skills and knowledge for unlimited prosperity. Meaning there was lots of opportunities in a new land without the burden of 1000’s of years of guild establishment.
Because I was a graduate in Political Science and continued my studies in 18th century America, I was afforded the opportunity to learn how the American business infrastructure formed with the emergence of a new political arena in conjunction with a foreign based commerce. As many button researchers before me, I traveled down the same wrong roads when trying to determine who really created these George Washington inaugural buttons. Researchers tend to automatically look toward the Manufacturers who made these buttons or where the raw materials came from. If a researcher took this road he would only come up blank. This is the Trap, and the reason why researchers always came up blank. I call it simply, “the wrong road”. I knew there was a larger piece of the puzzle missing, and I would have to start my thinking outside of the box of manufacturing! I narrowed my study parameters on the people who were in control of the American business infrastructure in all areas of economic prosperity. I knew automatically these men would not be American-born citizens simply because they would not have been privy to the special skill sets necessary for the ornate master pieces of works these buttons truly are. This kind of training was only afforded to the lucky ones of certain of bloodlines by birth of from a marriage. With my “New Revelation” it became crystal clear to me who these men are, and my new path of investigation ended up giving me all the answers to both the secret symbolism and men who created these works of art. I will base all my conclusions with concrete evidence with the use of other historical products made during the same time period. Since receiving my degree in Political Science from Penn State University in 1988, I can honestly say that history books have the post-colonial American business infrastructure all wrong in most books up until the early 1800’s. I truly believe there are present-day scholars holding back truthful information from history books about the hardships and inequalities of the American born citizen. They rather the public believe that some American-born citizen braved the ranks of poverty and no education to make America great. We are men of many nations that opportunity was greater here then their homeland and they brought over their skills and taught them to their children. This form of education was primary until mid 19th century. It will not be until much later when the real American-born entrepreneurs like Rockefeller, and then later Ford come into the fast-changing infrastructure of the American Industrial Revolution.
I will publish my New Findings by using a collaboration of experts in several fields including, Alchemy, Scottish & English Masons, 18th Century Freemasonry Guild experts, Numismatic Experts, and 18th & 19th Century Map & Seal making Experts. If everything goes good I will publish my works in 2015-2016. – Robert J. Silverstein