From the East – May 2014
In the days when masons met in taverns, they would draw symbols on the floor in chalk to illustrate the lecture being given that evening. After the lecture, the Stewards or the Entered Apprentice, as a lesson in secrecy, would go get a mop and bucket and remove all trace of the drawings. And to this day, the Entered apprentice oath has a strong focus on masonic thoughts that are written, painted, or engraved.
All that sketching became tedious to do every night, so a floor cloth painted with the symbols for each particular degree was simply rolled out for the evening.
Over time, the cloths were taken off the floor and hung on an easel, eventually known as a tracing board.
A tracing board should not be confused with a trestle board which is a table laid flat on top of trestles or saw horses. In Masonry the trestle board symbolism represents the place that builders draw their designs, for upcoming projects, and therefore in speculative masonry represents the lodge’s newsletter and calendar i.e. the work for the coming month.
Without timely and proper designs on the trestle board, the workmen will fall into idleness and the craft will fall into confusion. Let’s all prevent that from happening.