Theclock’s

faceispainted
withan
arrangementof
Masonicsym-
bolsincludinga
centralarchway,
checkeredfloor-
ing,andmotifs
suchasabee-
hive,ladder,
squareand
compassesand
threecandle-
stands.Itisalso
markedwith
thenameofits
maker,Cincin-
nati’sLuman
Watson(1790-
1834).

LikemanyofOhio’searlysettlers,Watsonwas

borninNewEngland,inHarwinton,CT,andmoved
westintheearly1800saslandinOhioopenedup.

Watson’sboyhoodinConnecticutofferedhimthe

opportunitytolearnaboutclockmaking.Connecticut
clockmakersingeniouslylearnedtoworkwithwhat
wasavailable,substitutingwoodenworksforbrass
whichwashardtofindduringthelate1700sand
early1800s.

Inturn,Watsonemployedthissametypeofclock

constructionafterhemovedWest.Watsonmovedto
Ohioasateenager,settingupapartnershipwithEzra
Readin1809,whenhewasjust19.Thefirmwaspro-
lific,makingmorethan30,000tallcaseclocksbe-
tween1815-34,whenWatsondied.

Freemasonryasan

OhioIndustry

Over100itemsintheNationalHeritageMuseum
collectionaremarkedwithalabelfromM.C.Lilley
andCompany,whichwasheadquarteredinColum-
busfrom1865to1951.

Just20yearsafterstartinghisbusiness,Mitchell

C.Lilley(1819-97)employed420peopleandby
1924,thecompanywasthelargestregaliaandsword
makerintheUnitedStates.Ohio’sdominationofthe
regaliabusinesswasalsohelpedbyseveralcompanies
inCincinnati:theCincinnatiRegaliaCompany;Pet-

tiboneBrothersManufacturingCompanyandStro-
bridgeandCompany.

Inaddition,theC.E.WardCompanyinNew

London,OH,wasactivefrom1905until1967;in
1951itabsorbedM.C.LilleyandCo.Thesecompa-
niesofferedavastarrayofMasonicandfraternal
gear,aswellasdecorativeitemsandprints—andex-
amplesfromeachofthesecompaniesarenowin-
cludedintheNationalHeritageMuseumcollection.

M.C.Lilley,alongwithcompaniesinotherre-

gionsofthecountry,madeswordsforseveralfrater-
nalgroups.

Inthelate1890s,thecompanyconductedatleast

onedesigncompetitionforanewsword.Over200
entriescompetedforthreeprizes.Thewinningentry
waspublishedinLilley’scatalogandofferedforsale.

TheNationalHeritageMuseumisfortunateto

haveoneoftheseso-called“PrizeSwords”initscol-
lection.DecoratedwithKnightsTemplarsymbols,
theswordhasagiltbrasshiltandscabbard,asteel
bladeandanivorygrip.

Thesword’sbladeismarkedwiththenameofits

originalowner,“GeorgeE.Parsons,”andalsoshows
themaker’snameandlogo,“TheM.C.Lilley&Co.”

Theregaliacompaniespublishedfrequentcatalogs

oftheirwares,whichweresenttolodgesalloverthe
country.

10

August2008/

TheNorthernLight

KnightsTemplar
Sword,knownas
"ThePrizeSword,"
M.C.Lilley&Com-
pany,Columbus,
OH,1896-1910.

Photo:
DavidBohl

KingCostume,
originalartwork
forfraternal
catalog,The
CincinnatiRegalia
Company,
Cincinnati,OH,
ca.1900.

Photo:
DavidBohl