RSE / RSEi Voting Box Restoration

Restored Voting Box at RSE (Photo by Mark Anderson ’79)

Long time RSE members may remember that we have a unique item in our heritage, a Victorian style voting box. These boxes have a long rich history dating back to the 1800’s including use by Masonic organizations. Classically, they allow for voting “Yes” or “No” on the topic at hand. Some implementations require the use of black and white balls to vote, while others have an internal divider so that balls are dropped to either the left or right to signify the vote.

The RSE / RSEi voting box is of the latter style. The user reaches into the opening up to their wrist to release a ball to the left or right according to the markings on top of the box. Once all have voted, the two-section drawer can be removed and the vote tallied.

Our voting box was used during my years at the House in the late 1970’s and presumably much earlier. It had clearly seen much use over the years and had sustained some damage. I took the voting box home for some much needed attention in my workshop!

The “before” pictures show the damage to the front opening and the ring of molding around it. The lid appears to be used as a coaster and the finish on the overall box had worn down. I was able to re-glue the broken piece of the front opening and crafted a new piece of the ring molding to replace the missing part. The entire box was sanded down to bare wood, re-stained and re-sealed to protect the finish. The writing and the center dividing line on the lid was re-done to indicate the “Yes” and “No” sides.

The “after” photos show the fully restored voting box, ready for another 50+ years of use at RSEi.

Mark Anderson ’79

Editors’ Note: Thank you Mark! Alumni Al Silvia ’75 and Bill Devos ’78 are doing additional restoration work in the House. Look for a report soon.

Voting Box before restoration (Photo by Mark Anderson '79)
Carefully measuring the letters before restoration (Photo by Mark Anderson '79)
Replacement wood piece in place (Photo by Mark Anderson '79)
Finished replacement piece (Photo by Mark Anderson '79)
Restored Voting Box back at RSE (Photo by Mark Anderson '79)

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