Masonic Slapstick
Observatory (543 Union St., Brooklyn)

An Illustrated lecture by John Goldsmith, Curator of the DeMoulin Museum accompanied by a one-night-only exhibition of initiation devices curated by Mike Zohn, co-star of TV’s “Oddities”

Between 1890 and 1930, hundreds of thousands of men belonged to the Masons, the Elks, the Kiwanis, or another of the over one hundred lodges which provided American men with a social outlet, a sense of importance, and sometimes even health and life insurance. One way these many lodges competed for members was with the use of inventive, theatrical and unlikely gadgets used in lodge initiations.

In 1892, Ed DeMoulin, a small town photographer who had more than a passing interest in the gadgets of the day, founded the DeMoulin company which went on to become one of the leading manufacturers of these lodge initiation devices. The DeMoulin brothers (Ed, U.S. and Erastus) held patents on many of the best known of these including “The Lifting & Spraying Machine,” “The Lung Tester,” and “The Low Down Buck Goat.” The DeMoulin’s motto was “Fun in the Lodge Room” and there’s little doubt that these water shootin’, electric shockin’, blank firin’, collapsin’ devices could do the trick.

Who were the DeMoulin brothers? And how did they become the zany geniuses behind these lodge initiation pranks? Tonight John Goldsmith, curator of the DeMoulin Museum, will share their story and demonstrate some of the devices. He’ll also provide a virtual tour of the DeMoulin Museum. There will also be a one-night-only mini exhibit of initiation devices curated by Mike Zohn, co-star of TV’s “Oddities.”

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