For sale is an early 1900s ORDER OF UNITED AMERICAN MECHANICS LODGE RIBBON made by Whitehead & Hoag Company, Newark, NJ. This double sided fraternal lodge ribbon was for a Junior OUAM youth lodge council from the tiny community of Blandburg, PA. The black side of the ribbon has text that reads: “In Memoriam – Blandburg council, No. 957 – JR. O.U.A.M. – Blandburg, PA”. The ribbon is topped with a celluloid pin of depicting a handshake. Lodge ribbons were normally worn with the colorful side in view. However, the ribbon would be worn with the black in memoriam side out if the member was attending a funeral of a member. The ribbon is somewhat tattered and torn but is still presentable. This ribbon’s maker’s mark includes a number of patent dates, the most of which is an 1896 patent date. The ribbon measures about 9 inches in length. This historical item is eye-catching and unusual.
The “O.U.A.M.” stands for the Order of United American Mechanics, an anti-Catholic American Nativist organization of the mid-19th century. It was founded in Philadelphia amid the anti-alien riots of 1844-45. Members were required to undertake efforts to publicize and campaign against the hiring of cheap foreign labor and to patronize only “American” businesses. Unlike other Nativist societies that sprang up in the 1840s and 1850, the OAUM was able to survive the Civil War. The Order offered sick and death benefits, along the lines offered by contemporary groups like the Oddfellows and Red Men, from October 1845. In 1853, the group added the Junior Order of United American Mechanics, as an youth auxiliary. This group would eventually become more popular than the OUAM itself and became an independent adult organization in 1885.
Blandburg is an unincorporated community in Reade Township, Cambria County, Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the town’s population was only 402 residents.