What's this thing? (see picture)
January 15, 2012 7:22 PM   Subscribe

What's the triangular piece of jewelry my great grandfather is wearing under his jacket and over his vest?

...right there, on his chest. A chain goes across and there's a triangular piece of jewelry hanging from it. What is it? Picture HERE.
posted by brownrd to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total)
Watch chain.
posted by zamboni at 7:26 PM on January 15, 2012

Masonic chain?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:27 PM on January 15, 2012

It looks to me like it may be a Freemason symbol in particular the Square and Compass symbol.
posted by deborah at 7:29 PM on January 15, 2012

I thought Freemason as well...
posted by HuronBob at 7:29 PM on January 15, 2012

I'd bet its an old school version of something like this, the masonic square and compass.

Do you have a name for your great grandfather, a date for the picture, or a location for where your great grandfather was at the time?
posted by Blasdelb at 8:27 PM on January 15, 2012

Yes I have all that. Shall I send it to you?
posted by brownrd at 8:43 PM on January 15, 2012

Googling "Freemason chain vest" returns this photo of a man (apparently a Freemason) wearing a chain with a fob in a very similar style.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:04 PM on January 15, 2012

The chain itself is called a Double Albert. It's a watch chain. One end of the chain has a watch attached. The watch is in his vest pocket. In the middle hangs an additional piece of chain with a fob, which is decorative and can be almost anything (like a pendant on a necklace) -- they may have nothing engraved on them, or have initials engraved, or be a sign of his company or an association or group or union, or have a piece of polished agate, or be a wax stamp, or be a sovereign gold coin. The other end of the chain has a bar or sometimes a watch key to wind up the watch, or sometimes a Vesta case to hold matches. Here's a close-up picture of one being worn.

That style was called Double Albert, but another popular style was the Single Albert. They are named after Prince Albert, who wore these and made them fashionable. Women would sometimes wear similar chains, and they were called Albertina chains.
posted by Houstonian at 1:47 AM on January 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Here's a little more, to show you the variety in watch fobs with that specific shape.
- A page from the E.V. Roddin catalogue from 1887 - 1889 with fobs, #453 is a locket that holds a picture.
- A bracelet later made with these fobs, intaglios with a locket and another with a pinkish stone.
- One on its original card, sold in this case to wear on a ribbon.
- A Masonic locket.
- A single-stone locket, probably originally a diamond chip, now made into a necklace.
- A decorative one put on a mourning hair necklace.
- One with a moon and star motif, now also a necklace.
- One with military insignia.
- One for committee membership.
posted by Houstonian at 3:05 AM on January 16, 2012

Thank you all!
posted by brownrd at 6:10 AM on January 16, 2012

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