|Matching pair of painted wood, American, ceremonial halberd axes. These would have been used by one of the many fraternal groups that thrived in the nation during the 19th century. They appear to date to the second half (probably 1865-1890), but they could potentially be earlier. There are no nails used in their construction. The carved wooden blades, pike, and hooked thorns are fitted into a central sphere of wood. The tapered staffs, painted in oxblood red, are a nice contrast to the gold, silver and bronze. The patina is wonderful.|
The Odd Fellows is the most likely group that they belonged to, as there were so many of them and they used a wide range of objects in their inductions and other rituals of membership. The original purpose of the Odd Fellows relates to a time before there was a welfare state, socialized healthcare programs, or trade unions. The aim was (and still is) to provide assistance to its members along these lines when they need it. The name "Odd Fellows" has long been a source of curiosity and speculation. Though actually forgotten by the organization itself, one reasonable theory is that it referred to those persons employed in "odd" trades, because in 18th century England, when the Odd Fellows formed, organizations already existed for most of the major trades. Alternatively the halberds could be from one of the many Masonic groups or one of the more minor organizations.
Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
||Phone: (717) 502-1281
||19th Century (1801-1900)|
||In addition to general wear and patination, a hook is absent from each thorn. Because they present so well, and because their patina is so good, I didn't wish to spoil their original condition and pursue restoration.|
||13" (each) x 67" x 3"
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