Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)
This sword is a representative example of a Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) society or lodge sword.
"The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is one of the largest and oldest fraternal orders in the United States. Odd Fellowship was founded in England where it grew up during the 18th century. The Patriotic Order in England was followed by the Union of United Orders and the Loyal Order. In 1813, various lodges of the Union Order organized the Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows.
American Odd Fellowship was founded as the Washington Lodge #1 in Baltimore in 1819, and the following year affiliated with the Manchester Unity."
The most distinctive feature on the sword is the "tent-shaped" pommel with entrance flaps open.
A chain is usually found as a knuckle-guard running from the bottom of the tent to
a "chain-link on the cross-guard finial; both finials are in the likeness of three
inter-locking chain-links. These three links as represent "The Three Link Fraternity" which stands for Friendship, Love and Truth.
Also on the cross-guard appears the likeness of a pole-arm (on each quillon).
The guard "shield" displays the "all-seeing eye that never blinks." On the reverse
of the cross-guard is usually found the "Tablets of Moses" with the Roman numerals
I though X (the Ten Commandments) displayed. The hilts are cast from a variety of metals,
usually brass, and the grip is of wood, usually painted black enamel.
They are somewhat
ornate in appearance and were not intended for combat.
Fraternal, Lodge, or Society swords are relatively inexpensive to own and are fun to collect.
There are seemingly infinite variations and I have owned many.
Most are marked with a variety of manufacturer's names and are found in infinite degrees of condition.