Page 13 - Education Programs
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                                               By Plez A. Transou

                                                  Grand Lodge of Texas: April 2002

The Lambskin or white leather apron, is an emblem of innocence and the badge of a Mason; more
ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle; more honorable than the Star and Garter, or any
other order that could be conferred, at this, or any future period, by king, prince or potentate, or
any person, except he be a Mason; and which, I trust, you will wear with equal pleasure to yourself
and honor to the Fraternity.

With these or similar words every Mason is presented one of the most visible signs of Masonic
membership, the lambskin or white leather apron. In this, the newly made brother receives the first
tangible evidence of his acceptance into the Masonic fraternity and the one perpetual emblem of
his Masonic affiliation. This badge, the “essential” apron of an Entered Apprentice, will figure
predominately throughout his career in Masonry from the first lesson in the Northeast corner of
the lodge room until both his Masonic pursuit and life’s span is ended, and he is duly called from

The “Right of Investiture,” the ceremony of emblematically clothing the candidate, is neither
original nor unique to Freemasonry. Use of the apron in the Hermetic ceremonies of ancient Egypt
is evident. The apron was worn as a symbol of priestly power in the Levitican economy. The
Persian mysteries incorporated the white apron and, in the Hindustan, the investiture consisted of
a scarf being tied around the candidate’s waist. Without question, the Operative Masons used the
apron as an item of protective clothing.

The origin of the apron and its early development and character in Freemasonry is obscure. The
leather apron of the operative mason found its way into Speculative Masonry along with other
symbols of the Craft. Over time, it became an emblem and a badge, recognized as a symbol of
antiquity and was presented to the new Mason as a paramount honor. There is not the slightest hint
that operative masons used the apron as a teaching tool. Moreover, there is little evidence that there
was much more than a tenuous allegorical inference involved in the presentation during the
formative stages of Freemasonry in the early 18th century. As the Masonic ritual went through the
development and evolutionary processes, the apron progressed to a place of prominence by the
1760’s that the Mason recognizes today.

It would seem that the symbolical wearing of aprons by Freemasons in imitation of operative
masons would require little explanation, as the workman wore the apron as a protective covering.
However, the modern Masonic apron is a white lambskin apron, which adds two specific qualities.
First, the color white is a ritualistic development to represent purity and, second, the lambskin
material is emblematical of innocence. No better explanation of the Masonic apron can be found
than that provided in the Apron presentation to the new Mason. It is quoted here as presented in
the Monitor of the Lodge published by the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas.

         My brother, in behalf of this Lodge, I now present to you this white Lambskin Apron. It
may be, that in the coming years, upon your brow shall rest the laurel leaves of victory; it may be
that, pendant from your breast, may hang jewels fit to grace the diadem of some Eastern potentate.

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