The Custom Mola Collection of General H. R. Parfitt

H. R. Parfitt was the Governor of the Panama Canal Zone from 1975 to 1979. Prior to that, from 1965  to 1968, he was lieutenant governor of the Canal Zone and vice president of the Panama Canal Company. Between those periods, he served in Vietnam. During his stay in Panama he commissioned at least three molas that replicated insigniae of the Panama Canal Company, the Panama Canal Zone and Servicio Geodesico Interamericano (the Inter American Geodetic Survey). We were lucky enough to acquire these three molas as well as a wall plaque and desk ornament from General Parfitt’s estate. The desk ornament was presented to him in 1968 when he was leaving for Vietnam. It is inscribed, “Presented to Lt. Gov. H. R. Parfitt by Dredging Division August 19, 1968 For An Unfaltering Trust In This Division’s Ability To Perform The Impossible.”  Judging from the cloth used, and their general style (especially the use of small triangular “tas tas” filler ornaments), we’re guessing the molas were made in the latter part of Parfitt’s service in Panama — between 1975 and 1979.

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