Supreme Mechanical Order of the Sun

From Kook Science

Supreme Mechanical Order of the Sun
Formation 1866-'67
Purpose/focus Labour org.
Headquarters New York

The Supreme Mechanical Order of the Sun was a fraternal society for mechanics and allied trades, founded by members of the New York Workingmen's Union in late 1866 or 1867.


Each local lodge was called a League of Friendship, which existed under a State Council, these in turn under a National Council.


McNeill's The Labor Movement (1887) describes the Supreme Mechanical Order of the Sun as having an extensive ritual with numerous degrees;[1] press coverage of the order specified three primary degrees, and three or four more at the level of the State Council. According to Upchurch, as published in The Life, Labors and Travels of Father J. J. Upchurch (1887), one of the post-initiation degrees was called the "Knight of the Iron Ring."[2]


Members of the order in Meadsville, Pennsylvania joined John Jordan Upchurch in the founding of the Ancient Order of United Workmen (AOUW) in October 1868, splitting from the parent order.

Press Coverage

  • "Miscellaneous News Items", Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY): 1, 3 Jan. 1868,, "The workingmen have started a new secret society in New York called the 'Supreme Mechanical Order of the Sun.'" 
  • "Meeting of the New York Workingmen's Union", North Missourian (Gallatin, MO): 3, 19 Mar. 1868,, "At a meeting of the New York Workingmen's Union, held last week, the formation was announced of a new labor organization in New York State called the 'Mechanical Order of the Sun.' The President of the meeting, in response to inquiries that were made, said it was a secret order, somewhat similar to Freemasonry, intended eventually to absorb all labor organizations. They are to have a meeting in Syracuse in the course of a few months." 
  • "TOILERS OF THE HUB. Vigorous Organization for a Strike of All Trades — Eight Hours Demanded — A Fourth of July Parade", New York Daily Herald (New York City, NY): 8, 10 June 1872,, "Besides the various trade unions represented there were representatives present from the SUPREME MECHANICAL ORDER OF THE SUN. The aim and design of that order were explained at length, and a copy of the constitution was left with the officers of the meeting for the benefit of all desirous of further information. The order was established for the purpose of consolidating into one body all mechanics and tradesmen, with a view of enabling them to consult and act in concert on all matters pertaining to their common interest. It is a secret organization, and the delegates present declared that for mechanics it was as much superior to Odd Fellowship or Freemasonry as the sun is superior to the moon. The order was established in the United States in 1866; is already WIDE SPREAD AND RAPIDLY INCREASING in numbers, and it was claimed that it rules New York city to-day, the general union existing among all trades in regard to the eight hour movement being due to its influence. The speakers evidently appears to think that the 'Supreme Mechanical Order of the Sun' would largely obviate the necessity of a trades assembly if the workingmen would only join in force." 
  • "LABOR NEWS. Some Account of the Principal Labor Organizations of the United States.", Chicago Evening Mail (Chicago, IL): 2, 16 Sep. 1872,, "SUPREME MECHANICAL ORDER OF THE SUN, is the name of a mechanic organization, composed of Leagues of Friendship, under a National Council. There are State Councils, already organized in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and some other States, which exist, and work under charters issued by their National Councils. This institution was started about six years ago. It has three primary degrees, and three or four in the councils. It is a secret organization, with objects beneficial and benevolent, reaching only to its own members; has a membership of several thousand, and is increasing rapidly in strength. A. M. Wait, of Norwich, N. Y., is the Grand Lecturer; he keeps steadily in work in the primary associations of the order." 


  1. McNeill, George E.; James, Edmund J.; Powderly, Terence Vincent (1887), The Labor Movement: the Problem of To-Day, Boston: A.M. Bridgman & Co., p. 125, 
  2. Upchurch, John Jordan (1887), "At Meadville, Pennsylvania", in Booth, Samuel, The Life, Labors and Travels of Father J.J. Upchurch, Founder of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, San Francisco, Cal.: A. T. Dewey, p. 28,