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1920s "Ancient Order Of Froth Blowers" Novelty Cufflinks

1920s "Ancient Order Of Froth Blowers" Novelty Cufflinks



DATE: Art Deco, c.1920

Interesting antique cufflinks showing that the wearer is a member of the Ancient Order of Froth Blowers (AOFB), an hilarious parody - I think - of the RAOB (Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes). The latter being one of the largest fraternal organisations in the United Kingdom, founded in 1822 and known as The Buffs. The AOFB was registered as a charitable organisation, hoping "to foster the noble Art and gentle and healthy Pastime of froth blowing amongst Gentlemen of-leisure and ex Soldiers". It was founded in 1924 by Herbert Longdale Temple, an ex-soldier and curtain-merchant, initially to raise £100 (equal to £5,831 today) for the children's charities of the surgeon Sir Alfred Fripp. Fripp had saved Temple's life when he operated on his stomach, inspiring Temple to found the AOFB as a thank you.

The basic premise was to meet up, regularly, in pubs or clubs to enjoy "beer, beef, and baccy", with all fines and membership fees to be sent to Sir Alfred and Lady Fripp for the "Wee Waifs" of the East End of London. Membership cost 3 shillings (=£15 today), and each member received a pair of these enamelled silver cufflinks, as well as a membership booklet, and a card entitling them to "blow froth off any members' beer" and "occasionally off non-members' beer provided they are not looking or are of a peaceful disposition". Their motto was: "Lubrication in Moderation". 

Here's the incredible part: by late 1928 over 700,000 members had joined, raising an astounding £100,000 (=£6.2million today) for hospital cots, country outings, and a roof garden for mothers and children on top of the Marylebone Housing Associations's first block of slum clearance flats.

Their popularity was particularly upsetting to the Temperance activists who believed that it was alcohol which caused the "wee waifs'" suffering; not something a doctor and surgeon-to-the-King should be sponsoring. In 1927, Walter Greville of the Good Templars described it as "the latest recruited ally of the liquor trade", saying that "for ridiculous vulgarity and foolish methods it took the first prize". Nevertheless, the Lord Chancellor, Viscount Hailsham, described it as "a great charitable organisation", and when Fripp died in 1930 his Times obituary said of the Froth Blowers, "These, by their innocent mirth, assisted by a catchy tune, have contributed largely to charities, and have entertained and brightened the lives of innumerable children". 

A quote from the AOFB handbook: 

"A sociable and law-abiding fraternity of absorptive Britons who sedately consume and quietly enjoy with commendable regularity and frequention the truly British malted beverage as did their forbears and as Britons ever will, and be damned to all pussyfoot hornswogglers from overseas and including low brows, teetotalers and MPs and not excluding nosey parkers, mock religious busy bodies and suburban fool hens all of which are structurally solid bone from the chin up".

Oh, and they had a song... The More We Are Together

"The more we are together, together, together
The more we are together
The merrier we'll be.
For your friends are my friends
And my friends are your friends,
And the more we are together
The merrier we'll be."


18.0 x 8.7mm






Very good, with light antique patina

1920s Ancient Order Of Froth Blowers Novelty Cufflinks 1920s Ancient Order Of Froth Blowers Novelty Cufflinks 1920s Ancient Order Of Froth Blowers Novelty Cufflinks

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