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Trowel, Society of The

Vasari, in his Loves of the Painters and Sculptors, and referring to the life of G. F. Rustici, says that about the year 1512 there was established at Florence an Association which counted among its members some of the most distinguished and learned inhabitants of the city. It was the Societa delta Cucchiara, or the Society of the Trowel. Vasari adds that its symbols were the trowel, the Hammer, the Square, and the Level, and had for its patron Saint Andrew, which makes Reghellini think, rather illogically, that it had some relation to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. Lenning, too, says that this Society was the first appearance of Freemasonry in Florence. It is to be regretted that such misstatements of Masonic history should be encouraged by writers of learning and distinction.

The perusal of the account of the formation of this society, as given by Vasari, shows that it had not the slightest connection with Freemasonry. It was simply a festive association, or dinner-club of Florentine artists; and it derived its title from the accidental circumstance that certain painters and sculptors, dining together in a garden, found not far from their table a mass of mortar, in which a trowel was sticking. Some rough jokes passed thereupon, in the casting of the mortar on each other, and the calling for the trowel to scrape it off. Whereupon they resolved to form an association to dine together annually, and, in memorial of the ludicrous event that had led to their establishment, they called themselves the Society of the Trowel.

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