Machinists and Blacksmiths Union
Initiation Ritual


Opening Ceremonies
As soon as the time for opening the meeting has arrived, (if there is a quorum present,) the President shall take the chair, and give one rap with his gavel, upon which the officers and members shall take their respective seats, after which a general silence shall be observed,
Brother Craftsmen, I am about to open this Union of Fraternally United Machinists and Blacksmiths for the purpose of taking into consideration such measures as will tend to perpetuate our glorious Union; spread its principles and advance our individual as well as collective interests. You will, therefore, please come to order, and give your attention.
Conductor, what duty should we at all times perform before declaring this Union open for the transaction of business?
To securely guard the outer and inner door, and allow none to remain within these hallowed precincts but worthy members of the organization.
Station sentinels at the outer and inner door. You will examine the members present, and should there be any found wanting the spotless garments of honest worthiness have them conveyed from the room forthwith.
The Conductor herewith proceeds to take up the password, after which the Conductor, when through, will salute the President with the countersign, and respond as follows:
Mr. President, all present are worthy members of the order; the outer and inner doors are securely guarded, and we are safe from intrusion from the outer world.
Officers and Brothers: By virtue of my office, I have charge over this Union. I am bound by my obligation as a member and as an officer, to see that the laws and regulations of this Union are strictly and impartially enforced. I am also bound to preserve order and decorum, and to see that the business for which we have assembled is finished ere we adjourn. It is your duty to remain in this hall until that business is thoroughly completed; to take an active interest in those things which directly concern yourselves and are of such weighty moment to us all. Your duties as officers and members of this Union should be ever present in your minds; the obligations which you have taken upon yourselves, in presence of your fellow man, should always be kept fresh in your memory. I trust that on this occasion you will so comport yourselves that the painful duty of recalling to your minds those duties or that obligation will be spared me. You will now please rise while we open this Union.
Three raps with the gavel.
By the authority of our worthy President, I now declare this Union duly and regularly opened for the transaction of such business as may come before it.
The President gives one rap with his gavel, and the Union becomes seated, after which the President calls the order of business as per Constitution,
Initiatory Ceremony
A quorum is not necessary for the initiation of candidates.
When the President asks if there are any candidates for initiation, the Conductor shall retire to the ante-room and ascertain; if there are, he will take the name, age, tradeshop where employed, and residence of each candidate he finds in waiting, and report them to the President. If they have been duly elected, he will again retire, accompanied by the Financial Secretary, and address them, separately, as follows:

Have you ever been a member of a Machinists and Blacksmiths' Union?
Are you of sound bodily health?
Have you any temporary or permanent disease that may at any time cause you to be a burden on this organization?
If answered in the affirmative, the matter will be referred to the Union for action; if in the negative, he will introduce the Financial Secretary, who will collect the balance of the initiation fee, after which the Conductor will direct the candidate (s) to stand with uncovered head(s), and address them as follows:

My friend(s), by a vote of our Union it has been decreed that you shall be admitted to membership in our benevolent and charitable order. In consideration of the eminent worthiness of the Brother who proposed you, we have concluded to share with you the privileges of our brotherhood; and we sincerely trust you will never abuse the confidence we are about to repose in you and the honor we are soon to confer upon you. We trust you are (a man) (men) of honor, honest principle and integrity; and that you seek admission into our order through no unworthy or selfish motives. On the contrary, we trust that your intentions are pure and good, and that they spring from a sincere desire to better your own condition, socially, morally and intellectually, as well as that of your fellow men. Before admitting you to full membership, we shall exact of you a most solemn and binding obligation. We have all taken the same, and are subject to its binding influence by the eternal principles of justice, and by every holy inspiration of spotless manhood. This obligation will not, in any manner, conflict with your social or religious duties; but it will bind you by every hope you have of an eternal hereafter, to perform your duties as (a) member (s) strictly, fearlessly and without equivocation, and to so comport and conduct yourself (selves), at all times, that no act of yours will ever bring disgrace or shame to the order into which you are about to enter.
If you feel that you cannot keep inviolable the obligation we are about to impose upon you for your benefit, protection and elevation, you had better retire, for it were better you were never born than stamp your soul with the foul, infamous seal of perjury. Will you proceed or will you retire?
The Conductor will then conduct the candidate(s) to the inner door, upon which he will give three distinct knocks. As soon as the knocks are heard upon the door the Inner Doorkeeper will respond by making two distinct knocks, and then exclaiming:
Who comes there?
(A) candidate(s) who has (have) signified a willingness to comply with the rules and laws of our organization, and who is (are) desirous of receiving the privileges and benefits conferred by our institution.
Has he (have they) complied with all the requirements necessary in his (their) case, and is (are) he (they) eligible under our laws?
He has (they have.) He is (they are.)
Most worthy President, without is a (are) craftsman (men), properly vouched for and eligible, seeking admission to our brotherhood.
Permit him (them) to enter.
The candidate(s) is (are) now conducted to the centre of the room, facing the President, who will then give three raps with his gavel, upon which all the members will rise to their feet.
PRESIDENT, in an audible voice:
Self-preservation is the first law of nature.
They who would be free, themselves must strike the blow.
In Union there is strength.
The President will then give one rap with his gavel, and the Union becomes seated. The Conductor will then place the candidate(s) before the President, who will address him (them) as follows:
You are now about to take a solemn and binding obligation, the strict observance of which will entitle you to all the rights and privileges of a member of this organization, and which, if fully complied with in good faith, will not only tend to elevate your own condition in society, but also to ameliorate that of your fellow mechanics, who labor under similar disadvantages with yourself (selves).
Ours is a Mutual Benefit Society in the fullest sense; by joint effort we strengthen each other and advance our cause. We combine to relieve, to counsel and protect each other. Like the strands of the cable, individually weak, while separated we are easily broken or turned aside in our purpose, but when combined in one common bond of brotherhood, each supports and strengthens his neighbor, and exerts a tenfold power, not to be obtained by individual and divided effort.
The objects which claim the particular attention of our association are these: A more general diffusion of the principles of the mechanic arts on which our trades are based; the elevation of the Standard of intelligence among our brethren, thereby insuring them a greater proficiency in every branch of our profession; to aid each other in obtaining employment; to afford protection to each and all of our brethren, against the encroachments of unprincipled employers, who may seek to deprive us of our rights and privileges as men and citizens of a free community; and to secure as far as possible, a fair remunerative compensation for labor performed.
You are expected in your intercourse with the world, and especially with the members of our organization, to set a manly and consistent example, to give your attention to these objects as set before you, and earnestly exert every influence that shall raise the dignity of our callings, and that shall reduce the hours of labor to the limit most conducive to health, and afford opportunity for mental improvement.
You are strictly enjoined to discountenance that worst bane of the mechanic, and curse of its participants, intemperance. We regard it as a prolific source from which springs many of the evils which the working man has to endure. Therefore, cease not to oppose to it every kind influence that love to your fellow-man may suggest.
Now, that you have heard what we require of you, are you still willing to take the obligation?
If answered in the affirmative, the President will direct the Conductor to present the candidate(s), to the Vice President for obligation; if in the negative, the candidate will be allowed to retire.
Place a small 8tand or table in or near the centre of the room, upon which a copy or copies of the Constitution shall be placed. The candidate(s) will place his (or their) left hand(s) upon the Constitution while taking the obligation. The President will then strike three raps with his gavel, the members will rise to their feet. The Vice President will then administer the obligation.
You will raise your right hand, place your left on the Constitution, and repeat alter me the following obligation: Say I, and pronounce your name in full—
I, …, hereby solemnly pledge my honor as a man, that I will never reveal any business or proceedings of any meeting of this Union; that I will faithfully and fraternally aid and protect the interests of all worthy brothers of this organization; that I will apprise them of approaching danger, whether from their own imprudence or the evil designs of others, so far as lies in my power; and that I will, on proper and suitable occasions, extend to them and their families by brotherly attention and care, neither wronging them myself nor permitting others to wrong them if in my power to prevent the same. Should any brother apply to me for assistance in obtaining employment, I will use all honorable means to secure it for him; and furthermore, that I will abide by the Constitution of the National and Subordinate Unions, and By-Laws and decisions of this Union, from time to time made in conformity therewith; and that I will instruct in the art and mystery of my trade, Union men, persons eligible to membership in the Union, regularly apprenticed Machinists and Blacksmiths, and no others. And I furthermore pledge my honor as a man that I will promptly pay all dues, fines, and assessments that may at any time be levied upon me by National, or any Subordinate Union under the jurisdiction of the National Union, of which I may be a member; that should my connection with this Union cease from any cause whatever I shall still preserve inviolate my plighted faith.
At the close of the obligation, the President strikes one rap and the Union becomes seated. The Conductor will then conduct the candidate(s) to the Recording Secretary's desk, where he (they) will sign the Constitution, after which he will conduct him (them) to the front of the President’s chair, who will deliver the following final charge, carefully noting that the candidate(s) is (are) fully instructed in the signs before concluding the ceremony.
You are now (a) member(s) of Machinists and Blacksmiths Union, No. … of …. As (a) member(s) of this Union I would remind you that you have given us your pledge of honor that you will keep the business and proceedings of this Union inviolate. A strict adherence to your obligation, and a regular attendance at the meetings is earnestly required of you. We now urge you to use your best endeavors to advance the objects of the Union by all honorable and proper means.
We have a pass-word and explanation, (which are changed semi-annually,) by which we gain admittance to the meeting room, which are in no case to be given except to gain admittance to this room, or the meeting room of any other Union working under a charter granted by the National Union, or to prove yoursel(f)ves to the proper officer when in the room. This word (or explanation) is not to be given to another member without authority from the presiding officer, who alone is authorized to communicate it or cause it to be communicated to the members.
We also have a sign of recognition by which we are able to recognize each other when out of the Union. This can be given in the shop or street. It is made thus. Put back of index finger of right hand on right eye brow. Should a member notice you making the sign he will acknowledge thus. Put back of index finger of left hand on left eye brow, or should you see a person make the sign, you will return the countersign or acknowledgment.
To obtain admittance to this room, you will give ore rap upon the outer door. The Doorkeeper will present himself, when you will give him the pass-word, which the Conductor will now give you upon receiving which he will admit you pass word given in a whisper. You will then advance to the inner door and give two distinct raps, upon which the inside Doorkeeper will present himself, when you will give him the explanation to the pass-word, now also given by the Conductor. If not in the Union to which you belong, you will give your name, and the number and locality of the Union of which you are a member to the Doorkeeper; after he has reported you to the President he will again present himself, when you will, if correct, be admitted. Should you at any time be without the pass-word, report yourself to the Outside Doorkeeper of your own Union, give him your name, and state to him that you have not got the pass-word; he will first report you to the President, by whose orders you will be admitted. You will enter the room, displaying the sign of recognition, proceed to the center, still with the sign in view, and salute the President and Vice President thus …. They will acknowledge the salutation thus …. Should you wish to retire from the room previous to the adjournment, you will present yourself in the center of the room to the President and Vice President and salute them in the same manner as you did upon entering, and they will return a similar acknowledgment; alter which you will be at liberty to retire.
We also have a test-word, which is changed semi-annually; it is now given you by the Conductor, (always in a low tone of voice). Should you at any time wish to satisfy yourself that a stranger is in good standing, you will, after using the signs, advance and pronounce the last syllable of the word; the answer is by giving the first syllable. This word is in no case to be pronounced in full.
I herewith present you with a copy of our Constitution; I hope you will peruse it well. The Union will now take a short recess, that the members may congratulate each other upon the addition of our newly elected co-laborers.