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Coast Guard CPO Cap Devices


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#51 Tim B

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 07:41 PM

Here's a photo, taken from one of the Coast Guard sites, showing a chief with combination cap.  Note the style of anchor and the points I call out.  You will see if favorably compares to the Navy pattern badge with regards to the pattern of fouling.

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#52 Tim B

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 07:44 PM

Here's a sample of the type badge shown above; it's not mine and the image is from a past Ebay sale.  Note the fouling and appearance front & back.  IMO, this pattern is late WW2 or slightly past, prior to the devices going to a screw back type of attachment.

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#53 Tim B

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 07:48 PM

Here's the same pattern, only this one was converted at the manufacturer, probably when the specs changed to the screw back attachment.  This is why I think the design was used around this period in time.  Note, it still utilizes the same Navy style fouling.

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#54 Tim B

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 07:50 PM

And, yet another example where the device was converted but this one had the fouling trimmed to closer match the CG design.

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#55 Tim B

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 08:03 PM

Now, regarding the pattern of CG anchor;

 

If we are to assume correctly, that the dual hallmark of H-H/Imperial is in fact mid-WW2, then we see that the design called out in 1952 (Amendment #1) was already in use.  I show full size examples of both the Blackinton and HH/Imperial devices of this pattern in previous posts and I currently attribute both to WW2.  Note the star patterns are seven over six.

 

It's the miniature or garrison device that has the opposite layout (six over seven).  Perhaps the mini device I have and the mini Paul shows is actually a later production?



#56 Tim B

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 08:15 PM

Last note for now, regarding the change of star patterns;  Here are three later produced CG CPO devices, from the 1950's to 1980's IMO.

 

Note the star patterns are now reversed and all stars are leveled out horizontally.  As the two devices are hallmarked GEMSCO A.G.O. G-2, it pretty much dates them in the 1950's and probably some of the earliest pattern for the SCPO device.

 

So IMO, the change in star layout, based on what I have read thus far, puts that change sometime around or after 1959.

 

 

A reminder to those that might be so inclined, that my images are NOT "free use" or "public domain".  If you plan on using them for anything other than personal file pics, you need my permission beforehand or I will consider it a case of copyright infringement.

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#57 Tim B

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 08:40 PM

Looking through the first two pages, I see I did not previously post the full-size Blackinton example, so here it is.  Again, seven over six stars.

 

I would also point out that the SCPO device Paul shows in post #9 appears to be earlier than my GEMSCO example, as his also has the seven over six star pattern.

 

Considering that Blackinton is still in business today and continued to manufacture badges well into the 1970's (?), it is possible the garrison devices are later produced?  I don't know, if Paul is sure that his mini is from WW2, that tends to throw things into question on patterns.

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#58 Tim B

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 11:34 PM

Disregard my earlier comment on the star pattern reversing in post #56 as they didn't change; they are all still seven over six, only more horizontal than previous pattern examples.  My eyes must be tired after all the posting and its too late to edit the post now.  :blush:

 

The only examples I see with six over seven stars are the mini Blankinton examples and that screw back example Paul shows in post #13 (left anchor).  Not sure when that item was manufactured?  Paul?



#59 Tim B

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 09:03 AM

Briefly going back to the issue of the Coast Guard getting away from the Navy designed anchor, here's a page from the Navy's 1951 Uniform Regulations where you can see the pattern with that extra loop of fouling.  Obviously the USN lettering was better supported with this base to solder onto, where the CG shield really didn't need it anyway.

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#60 MastersMate

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 10:05 AM

Good Morning,

 

Appreciate the info from the USN uniform regs and the CG addendums. Great stuff..

 

I am not a collector, just pick these up from time to time as I try to put the CG enlisted ratings into some semblance of order..

 

The photos that Paul R put up in post #13  are what have me wondering.. I have a garrison cap size the same as you've posted, with the flipped over star pattern.  I also have a combination cap size, with the screw post and prong centering pin, that is damned near the same as the one with the flipped star pattern. From the front, the vertical stripes on the shield have about the same width proportion and the slight 'pebbling' in the valleys. From the back, Pauls #13 shield appears to be 'dished'in slightly, whereas the one I have appears to be flat pressed. There is a slight 'nub' on the right side of the shield that keeps it from being applied perfectly flat to the shank. There is flaky corrosion on the back side and no markings visible. It came in an old Vanguard box with a celophane window. Only ABC 7733 printed on a tab to the box closure.

 

The combination cap in # 13 and the Blackington garrison cap are my curiosity. Why and when would a manufacturer retool their equipment to produce a silver shield with the same star pattern as the sew on sleeve mark.

 

Only oddity I am trying to figure out. 

 

I tried to post this info last night, but somehow it was lost to the electrons.

 

In November 1941, the Coast Guard officially adopted the USN Uniform regs of July 1941.  Change #1 of that date cancelled the 1930 CG Uniform regs.  In listing the various changes in effect for the Coast Guard, an item concerning the CPO cap insignia stated it shall be the same as the USN insignia substituting a silver shield for USN.  Most likely a paper date to note the design change to the USN style of fouling.



#61 MastersMate

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 10:41 AM

Another oddity just jumped out that really did not register. The Number 1 surfman in post  #40 shows the subdued bronze insignia on the Bell style cao. CG uniform regs of the time noted the insignia has a screw post to attach it to a grommet in the front of the cap.  That cap style was changed about 1922.

 

The shield just sunk in. Notice it has 15 alternating striped in the lower portion instead of the 13 in the national shield. When the shield stripes was changed adds something different.

 

Too much info for me, going back to concentrating on the ratings..



#62 MastersMate

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 11:58 AM

This photo should give a good starting point for CG cap insignia. This is a 1908 to 1915 Revenue Cutter Service Master at Arms. He is rated as a petty officer of the first class. The rating badge has gold eagle and chevrons.  IF the cap device can be enhanced, that is the earliest photo I've found of the RCS/CG cap insignia. It was authorized in the 1908  RCS Uniform Regs. The shield would be most interesting.

RCS_1910_Master_At_Arms.jpg


Edited by MastersMate, 20 March 2016 - 11:59 AM.


#63 Tim B

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 12:54 PM

I've seen that photo before and it's from pg. 37(?) of your transcribed reference (cover below).

 

The problem I continue to have and had two years ago when I first contacted you was, you put illustrations into your transcription that had wrong details in the devices.  Details that were actually from later period devices.  That put some ambiguity in the reference, for me at least, as to how much was factual and how much was the author's beliefs.  Sorry, but as I stated back in 2014, I would prefer to see/read the actual original documents so I know what I am reading is in fact the real word on the subject.

 

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#64 Tim B

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 01:04 PM

I'm leaving the Surfman insignia out of the discussion for now as its a whole different can of worms and things tend to get muddled with too many directions going on.

 

If you look at the 1930 instructions, you will see the sleeve insignia was the same as the CPO cap devices with seven over six stars.  I think they shortened the top points of the shield so that the flare would not allow for that center top star to fit anymore and they simply put the row of seven lower so it would fit.  I think the hand written comments sort of call that out in the previous post.  That might very well be why the smaller garrison device designed early on had the stars that way to meet the size specs, I don't know, only guessing on that.



#65 Tim B

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 01:51 PM

Dana,

 

Try this shot, don't take the dating I put under these as gospel.  I tried to base approximate production dates based on design details, manufacturer's hallmarks, etc.

 

Remember, for the most part, the Coast Guard followed the Navy's lead when it came to design, so the anchor style of fouling progression would be rope/line fouling --> twisted wire/cable --> chain fouling.  We know by the Navy's progression, that the line was first as the first anchor design in 1897 (with loops) had line and that design carried over into the mid to late 1920's, only in a pin back version.  A somewhat gray area of time where designs seem to vary greatly prior to and slightly after WW1 and then a larger design after that, up until circa late 1941 when chain fouling was incorporated into the design.  Screw back devices came in around 1947, though previous pin back devices remained in use well into the 1950's, evidenced by dated period photos.

 

Do note how some of the earlier shields have more of a pointed flare to the top points than others.  I think it may be manufacturer's variation and over time these tended to lower.

 

Anyway, glad to help where I can and always happy to discuss details so the knowledge advances for all.

 

Tim

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#66 MastersMate

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 09:18 PM

The 1908 RCS pamphlet was never meant to be  reference material. It was a simple hobby project spurred on from another web site. Members, at the time expressed an interest in the old CO uniforms and ratings and that was just a result of chasing down their questions. There was no readily available CG specific information out there. You had to dig for it. Someone on that site mentioned sending it to the CG historians office so they might use it to check up on older items. Next thing I know it is on line and well, that's how the internet works, I guess. Now I keep the information to myself. Less hassles.

 

Your collection above is fascinating by the anchors represented. Looks like all the older ones have 15 stripes represented on the bottom portion of the shield. There are probably a couple of manufacturers variations with 13 stripes as specified for the national shield. The subdued bronze anchor is a photo from the CG Academy collection. That would be on the front of the drab surfmans style cap of 1915 to 1920sh.  Notice that shield also has 15 stripes. The Revenue Cutter and CG ensign has 15 alternating red and white stripes. The 1959 change notes the official CG CPO anchor design with 13 stripes represented, the 1951 change 1 illustration shows the shield with 15 stripes..  May be a minor quirk at this point in time. I just don't know..

 

The RCS officers of the time were a separate and elite breed. The corps device worn on the collars  and shoulder marks consisted of a foul anchor with a vertical shield on the shank, perpendicular to the crown.  Illustrations from 1891 and 1900 show the shield to have 13 stripes with the cable foul and overlapping one fluke.

 

It would not be surprising to find that the shield for enlisted crew was designed specifically to be different from the ifficers corps insignia.

 

Well, this has been informative, thanks for the input .



#67 Tim B

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 10:31 AM

Morning Dana, or what's left of it here.

 

Yes, completely understand the frustrations of spending an inordinate amount of time researching something, often never finding what you're really after, then it being taken and used elsewhere.  Though I like to openly share information, I tend to be more guarded now even showing my items, as the images are used outside the venues they were meant for, often without my permission.  So, I do understand your comment on not readily finding information and the hesitancy of openly sharing it.  Please don't read too much into my tone online sometimes as it stems from similar issues here.

 

With that said, as you're obviously interested in the furthering of information on this topic, if you see any of my items that you would like to see in more detail, just PM or email me and I can send you better pics.  Just please keep them to yourself if you don't mind.

 

Best,

 

Tim



#68 MastersMate

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 05:11 PM

Man o man, this rabbit hole just keeps going around and around.

 

This afternoon, an old recollection popped up and I rediscovered a site with the October 1917 vol 32 issue of the National Geographic Magazine. It has a big article on flags and military insignia. It had a good clear illustration/photo of the CG device and it had that 15 stripes in the shield and the fouling extremely close to that on top row, second anchor in.  I'd bet that has to be a very early issue. My June 1943 National Geographic shows the anchor with chain fouling extremely close to the current style but with that 15 stripe shield..

 

FWIW, the Revenue Cutter Service regs covering 1908 to 1915 do not mention anything about how it is mounted to the cap. The 1916 CG regs covering 1916 to about 1922 mention that it would have a screw post for mounting to the cap. Uniform photos show the cap switched design the same time as the USN. I guess that is when the pin came into style.

 

As to why the CG decided to use something different from the national shield has my curiosity. I am going to have some digging to do. They wanted to keep enlisted different from the officers. Will see if the national archives have anything on hand about RCS or early CG insignia..

 

Sometimes I think I should have pursued basket weaving instead..



#69 MastersMate

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 07:50 PM

Not accepting the image.. Unable to post



#70 Tim B

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 10:00 AM

Not accepting the image.. Unable to post


Dana,

 

Probably an issue relating to the forum's size restrictions on posting attachments.  Try this section on the forum for resolutions:

 

http://www.usmilitar...photos-imaging/



#71 Tim B

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 05:10 PM

Another oddity just jumped out that really did not register. The Number 1 surfman in post  #40 shows the subdued bronze insignia on the Bell style cao. CG uniform regs of the time noted the insignia has a screw post to attach it to a grommet in the front of the cap.  That cap style was changed about 1922.

 

The shield just sunk in. Notice it has 15 alternating striped in the lower portion instead of the 13 in the national shield. When the shield stripes was changed adds something different.

 

Too much info for me, going back to concentrating on the ratings..

 

Dana,

 

How sure are you regarding that subdued anchor I posted in post #40 actually being a screw back device and for a Surfman uniform?  I did not realize that when looking at the photo and assumed it was regular Coast Guard.   Wouldn't the Surfman insignia have the anchor with life preserver/oars superimposed over the anchor?  Again, I am confused by it as the CPO rating didn't really come into being until May 1920 and this badge appears to be WW1.  Do you have anything in the WW1 period uniform regulations that discuss subdued devices?

 

 

Perhaps we're reading too much into the design and early on (prior to 1959) no one really paid that much attention to the shield details, only making it look symmetrical in appearance?  The 13 stars remained but the pattern slightly shifts over time and may have to do more with the shape of the shield points evening out later on.  

 

The stripes I don't know; All my examples from WW2 and pre-war, save one, have the 15 alternating stripes and these came from various manufacturer's and time periods.  So, I tend to think the design specs the manufacturers were using followed the example shown for them to model after.

 

 

Briefly getting back to those 1950's era Gemsco anchors I posted in post #56, I think these are the earliest examples of the SCPO badge due to the A.G.O. G-2 hallmark.  Taking a closer look at Paul's anchor again in post #'s 9 & 10, his is hallmarked V-21-CG, which is circa mid-1960's at earliest and I previously called that out in post #11.  Didn't see it the other night.



#72 Tim B

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 05:23 PM

This was the only thing I've ever read on the issue of stripes but it calls out 16 vice 15 early on.  Perhaps the border was counted as the 16th stripe?

 

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#73 MastersMate

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 06:41 PM

This might get a bit drawn out, but I'll try to keep it under 2,000,000,000 words..

 

The Coast Guard enlisted rating system has been a long mystery. Most CG information focuses on that 18 May 1920 General Order creating the CPO rate.  Got to really go back to 1908 and one of the last Revenue Cutter Service uniform changes.

 

The RCS crews consisted of Warrant Officers, Petty Officers and non rated crew. The RCS graded them as Petty officers of the 1st class and petty officers of the 2nd class. The 1st class were the MAA, Wheelman (QM), Electrician, 1st class Electrician(RM) 1st Class Machinist. Those POs wore a uniform just like the USN CPO. Difference was the eagle and chevrons were gold with a silver specialty mark. The  RCS cap device looked just like the old ones you have collected.

 

The Signal Quartermaster, 1st Oiled were also 1st class POs but wore the USN " crackerjack "and had a PO1 crow.

 

The Asst MAA, QM Coxn, 2nd Oiler and Watertender wore a 2nd class crow.

 

In 1915 with the joining of the RCS and the Lifesaving Service happened, a major glitch in the legislation "froze" the new CG with the existing grades and ratings of their previous organizations.  In the re-organization, the KEEPER of the Lifeboat Stations was made a Warrant Officer, and the Number 1 Surfman became the 1st Class PO,  wearing the same RCS style CPO uniforms. There was a specific olive drab uniform created for the Lifesaving Branch. That's why I keep looking at that subdued insignia. It only would have been around in that 1916 - 1920 period..

 

The CG legal people pushed for the legal authority to control the enlisted ratings. Where previously the Secretary of the Treasury could create new ratings and rates, with the 'new' CG it had to go through Congress.

 

During WW1 Sec Nav had to determine which CG ratings equated with the USN rating to standardize pay. None of the CG rates equaled a USN CPO grade.

 

The USN Pay Act of May 1920 contained the provisions that made the rates and ratings in the CG the same as the USN. Hence, the birthday of the Coast Guard CPO.

 

What was interesting when the old CG rates were redistributed with the 1920 bill, the Nr 1 Surfman became the BM1 Lifesaving Branch.. The Wheelman with 3 years in grade became the BMC and less than 3 years in grade became the BM1 Cutter Branch.

 

Pre 1920 PO1 was the highest CG enlisted rate, but some of the ratings wore a CPO type uniform. Pretty convoluted. Took a long time to get it figured out. Had to dig through a ton of old congressional hearings of the 1910s on up..



#74 MastersMate

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 06:50 PM

The CG ensign does have the 16 alternating stripes. The number of states when it was adopted. As to the WHY 15 on the anchor and shield ??? 

 

Just a strong hunch as to how the design came to be, just a hunch....  

 

The old 1900s choker tunic had collar insignia of a foul anchor with a national shield on the shank. All fairly well documented.  Many of the enlisted crew of the RCS were just 1 or 2 hitch men an off to something different in the world.  Reading some of the old congressional testimony concerning the crews, they were kind of considered just "cheap" labor. Not a whole lot expected of the during their 1 year enlistment. I would strongly go with the idea that when designing the 'new' cap insignia, the RCS officers wanted it to be similar, but not the same as the officers insignia. Once the design set with the RCS insignia, it just kept going with the new Coast Guard..



#75 Tim B

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 08:59 PM

Interesting information Dana!

I remember reading somewhere that when the CPO rating came into being, those "acting WO" Keepers that were not advanced to WO, were automatically promoted to Chief Petty Officers, so that too may add a wrinkle into actual devices found in attributed groups.  Kurt shown a couple emblems back on post #17 and I mentions those comments through post #20 on that as well.

 

I see a bullion CPO emblem (Navy) similar to that CG example currently on Ebay, for those interested.

 

Tim




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