Masonic Education

Excerpted from the NSW Freemason  Dec. 1992 and

The Art of Tubal-cain, Masonry and Metallurgy

We, as Masons, know Tubal-cain is depicted as a blacksmith. We do not know when he lived, but probably in the days when primitive man used tools of stone or flint to work naturally occurring pieces of gold, silver, copper and meteoric iron into weapons, tools and ornaments for use in war or peace. At some stage, man utilized fire to liberate metals from their ores, and there came that magic moment, some thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia, when copper ores bearing tin were smelted; this first alloying of metals launched the Bronze Age, a great step forward in this ascent of man. This early metallurgy promoted the first explosion in international trade, as bronze coinage formed a novel means of exchange, and the cradle of civilization in the Eastern Mediterranean area thus spread to Europe. There is a definite metallic streak running through our Masonry. We were divested of money and metallic substances even before we entered the Lodge. In the Sectional Lectures, there is a strong allusion to extractive metallurgy with the mention of chalk, charcoal and clay as the emblems of freedom, fervency and zeal. Clay is our 'Mother Earth', providing both the metals and the refractories to contain them at high temperatures; from charcoal, we derive the heat energy to smelt and refine them; and from chalk, the flux to alloy with the gangue and separate it from the ore.

 If Tubal-cain were the first artificer in metals, his disciples today are known as tool engineers, who provide the expertise to design and devise the machines, methods and tools to be used. It is not surprising that nearly all the Working Tools presented to us in our Craft Degrees are essential tools in the fabrication of metals; one cannot imagine a tool engineer without the benefit of the pencil and the ruler, and the square and the compasses. Metals run like shining threads through the whole tapestry of human history; besides the invention of coin age, they have played a critical role in the invention of printing, the harnessing of steam and the internal combustion engine, the discovery and use of electricity, the achievement of powered flight, and the advent of nuclear energy. The art of Tubal-cain, now called metallurgy, is unfolding the secrets of nature and science. The Great Artificer of the Universe provided the materials in the firmament, and man's inspired fashioning of them by tools, is, I hope, stamping our work divine.

“So who was Tubal-Cain?" Tubal-Cain is the name of a pre-flood descendant of Cain. Tubal-Cain was the son of Lamech and Zillah. His half-brothers were Jubal and Jabal; his sister’s name was Naamah. The two elements of his name mean “producer” and “smith,” and he is associated with the origin of metalworking. “Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes. Zillah also had a son, Tubal-cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron” (Genesis 4:19–22).

These verses say that Lamech and his wives produced four children. Each of their sons is listed with a cultural accomplishment. Jabal raised lifestock, Jubal played musical instruments, and Tubal-Cain forged tools out of bronze and iron. The reference here may be to copper and iron. It seems that Tubal-Cain was the world’s first coppersmith. What can we learn from this section of Scripture? We learn that God used the disobedient descendants of Cain to significantly impact history through their discoveries, inventions, art, and industry. The cultural contributions of Tubal-Cain are an illustration of the grace of God at work.


 The material in this papers was developed from a variety of sources: books, encyclopedias, magazine articles, M.S.A Publications, television, and the internet.  Most, but not all, of these sources were written and/or edited by Masons.  There is no claim made that the information in these papers is original, or was originally developed by this writer. Each paper contains: direct quotes, excerpts, and paraphrasing from the sources used.

These papers are presented one per month as part of the Masonic Education Program of Bellevue Lodge #325 A.M. & F.M. at the monthly Stated Communication. 

Br. William H. Miller,                                                                                                                     

Bellevue Lodge #325