One of the reasons why Freemasons are known as the “Brethren of the 3 dots” (irmãos três pontos) is the way they finish their signature. These three dots disposed in the form of a triangle with one the arms pointed up are also mentioned in the rituals, in the invitations and in the official correspondence. They are used to make abreviations, cutting short the words after the last consonant of the first sylab. Only the names of the symbols and the titles or degrees of the Brethren are abreviated like this. For instance the “Oriente” (East) is abreviated as Or:., the Lodge as L:. The origin of this tradition is mostly unknown. Some historical research stress to that this type of signature was common to some ancient orders, namely religious orders, even before the emerging of speculative freemasonry. At the 17th Century, several clerics in religious communities used this type of signature in their dispatchs. The first freemasons used the three dots aligned and defined by two dashes, one over and the other below. To freemasons they symbolize the past, the present and the future, but also the three degrees of the blue lodges (entered apprentice, fellowcraft and master). To inscript the three dots close to the signature don’t signify that the author is a freemason. During the second half of the 19th century because of the increasing of lodges and the explosion of notority of freemasons several “profanes” use it. There is no garanty on getting a freemason behind a signature follow by three dot. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, recently, created a frou-frou by signing a written instruction to a close staff member finishing it with three dot. The French press conjecture about the personal convictions of the President of the French Republic but it seems that was "smoke with no fire".
Another tradition of the former freemasons was the use of a hermetic alphabet based on geometric forms. The letters of the Latin alphabet were distributed inside a grill formed by four crossed dashes creating a very intuitive alphabet, which nowadays is rarely used. It may finded in some objects of masonic art and in certain rites included in the tracing-board of Master Masons.