Order of the United American Mechanics

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Text on Button O.U.A.M.
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Black text over a flag on tools on a white background

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The Order of United American Mechanics (O.U.A.M.) was founded in Pennsylvania during the 19th century as an anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant American Nativist organization. Only open to white, male citizens, they took stands against immigrants by campaigning against the hiring of cheap foreign labor and patronizing “American” businesses. They used their influence to secure employment for their members and provided them with sick and death benefits.

The emblem on the button was influenced by the Freemasons, incorporating their square inside two compasses and then adding an arm and hammer on an American flag in the middle. The compasses are a symbol of remaining within bounds with all mankind, the arm and hammer a symbol of industry and hard work and the flag a symbol of their patriotism.


Malcolm C. Duncan (1866). Duncan’s Masonic Ritual and Monitor.

The Nativist Orders. (1999). Retrieved from http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/fraternalism/jr_aoum.htm

Catalog ID CL0578