Never Despair; Nothing Without Labour

I’ve long been fascinated by the association between bees and woodworkers (and other laborers). Images of bees and skeps (early beehives) show up frequently on books and other ephemera related to woodworkers in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

This week I stumbled on an enchanting 1905 image from the billhead of Bittner, Hunsicker & Co. The Allentown, Pa., company made hoisery, knit goods and overalls. Thanks to the power of, I found two original billheads for sale and purchased them.

The above is the result of a high-resolution scan and some clean-up work in Photoshop. I like it so much I think we’ll make it part of a sticker set. Details to come as soon as they are available. So never despair.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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14 Responses to Never Despair; Nothing Without Labour

  1. jpassacantando says:

    Damn, a little mind worm from Schwarz while I am trying to grade grad students’ papers. This may be the most intriguing of all the wonderfully provocative images and ideas that he slings out there. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. ikustwood says:

    Shirts, hoody! All !

  3. Ryan Denney says:

    The Freemason symbolism is very interesting, the allseeing eye, the hive representing the perfect lodge and seven bees. Very cool. Look forward to seeing what you do with it.

  4. Rachael Boyd says:

    good thing I still have room on the lid of my chest for more stickers

  5. Ryan Stadt says:

    My wife is now trying to talk me into getting this as a tattoo.

  6. hikerob says:

    Be cool to replace the flowers with Woodworking hand tools?

  7. Larry Thomas says:

    I would like a poster of this for my woodshop!

  8. Micah Salb says:

    This is great. I am both a woodworking and a beekeeper–I bet that there is a great many of us out there!

  9. Pascal Teste says:

    Excellent find! A good reminder to persevere in difficult times. I like Ryan Stadt’s idea of a tattoo.

  10. Rick says:

    The beehive is also prevalent in Mormonism, emblazoned on the doorknobs of the temple in Salt Lake City.

  11. Bryon says:

    The beehive is the state emblem of Utah. As a child we were always told it represents the “industrious” nature of the Utah people and settlers. It’s worth noting that the founder of the LDS church was a mason – which probably explains it’s origin in Utah.

  12. AnotherDave says:

    hmmm…correct spelling of laboUr…are these available in coloUr?

  13. Mark Baker says:

    Well , You hit the nail on the head this time ! Bees are my favorites ! Built all my hives ,too ! This was a family run business and before we had to move to another island ,we had 220 hives . This was a friendly hive to be careful moved to safety away from people . 400 pounds of honey standing there !
    sent the picture to your e-mail ,it would not post here .

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