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history of the trestle board
A Masonic trestle board is a design board for the Master Workman (Architect) to draw his plans and designs upon to give the workmen an outline of the work to be performed. In today’s terms, we might call it a blueprint.
A trestle board is a framework consisting of (usually 3) vertical, slanted supports (or legs) with one or more horizontal crosspieces on which to hang or display an item. Today, it is better known as an “easel”.
Some jurisdictions around the world call it a tracing board. It would be somewhat of a “circular logic” task to argue the difference, as, while neither can be fully proven (in historical writings), the “Tracing board” may very well have preceded (come before) the use of the word “Trestle-board” because lodges in Europe (which pre-date American lodges), use the word “Tracing Board”.
Hiram Abif’s tracing board is believed to have been made of wood, covered with a coating of wax. Each day he would draw his Master architect’s measurements and symbols into the wax in order to instruct his Master Masons of the work that was to be accomplished.
At the end of the day, he would simply scrape off the wax and pour a new layer of hot wax onto the board to ready it for the next day’s work.
Much later, in the days where lodge was held in secret areas and on hills and vales, (valleys) once lodge was in session, the Tiler (or Tyler) would draw an oblong (rectangular) or oblong square depiction into the dirt that represented the form of the lodge.