Society of Pewterers, 1788

This is the earliest U.S. labor banner we know of, made in New York City in 1788. Note the American flag with 13 stars, and the two male figures flanking the pewterer’s coat of arms, above a flag reading "Solid and Pure"—the whole in perfect balance.

The ribbon at top right reads "The Federal Plan Most Solid & Secure/Americans Their Freedom Will Endure/All Art Shall Flourish in Columbia’s Land/And All her Sons Join as One Social Band"

Beneath it is a painted image of a pewterer’s shop containing a shelf of three pewter objects. Below that four figures are at work making pewter objects, the entire composition emphasizing the dignity and skill of these craftsmen.

According to the New-York Historical Society, this banner was carried by the Society of Pewterers of the City of New York in the Federal Procession, July 23, 1788, celebrating the ratification of the Constitution of the United States.

Painted silk with fringe
92″ x 120″

The New-York Historical Society (1903.2)