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Naval Clothing Factory & dating Navy enlisted uniforms

Started by Bob Hudson , Jul 23 2008 09:43 AM

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#1 Bob Hudson

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 09:43 AM

Various forum members have addressed the dating of Navy enlisted uniform in response to various posts, but I thought we should have reference topic specific to this issue, as opposed to addressing the age of any one specific uniform.

It is commonly assumed by some that a Navy uniform with a "Naval Clothing Factory" tag is WWII, but some others have said items with that kind of tag were issued into the 1960's.

Once basic question is: when exactly was the Naval Clothing Factory (or actually factories) in operation and did they used this tag before WWII?

The earliest reference I have found so far is in an 1886 medical journal where the Naval Clothing Factory at the New York Navy Yard is given credit for improving the health and comfort of sailors, apparently by ensuring they each have a standard issue of appropriate clothing. Other references pin this location down to "South Brooklyn" and I assume that was the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

But this was not the only Naval Clothing Factory. An bio of an early 20th century sailor says, " HILL, EDWIN G., Yeoman 1st Class, U. S. N. R. F.; of Craven County; son of Charles B. and Clare Hill. Entered service May 22, 1918, at Wilmington, N. C. Sent to Charleston, S. C., July 25, 1918. Served in U. S. Naval Clothing Factory, Navy Yard, Charleston, S. C., from July 26, 1918, to June 2, 1919."

A New York Times article from August 14, 1899 mentions the "placing of a naval clothing factory on the Pacific Coast."

There is also the term "Naval Clothing Depot" and it has been said this was seen on label after WWII - but the term existed before then. At http://www.geocities...Districts1.html there is a list of 1939 directory of Naval activities and it lists the Naval Clothing Depot in New York. The "Naval Clothing Depot, Brooklyn, N.Y. " is also referenced in another list of WWII military activities in New York. A magazine article in The New Yorker, March 10, 1951, p. 23, has this "Talk: Visit to the Naval Clothing Depot, in Bklyn. Interview with Salvatore Gianola, Director of Research Development at the Depot, and the Navy's leading authority on cold-weather clothing." I also found a reference to a May 1943 officers cloak tag which says ""Naval Uniform Shop - Naval Clothing Depot - Brooklyn NY"

And I just found this in the Department of the Navy Correspondence Manual Course for ADMINISTRATION , "1 Jul. 1933 Navy Clothing Depot, Brooklyn, N.Y., established"

My guess is that the Depot took over the development and distribution functions of the Naval Clothing Factory, by the factory (or factories) remained in place through World War II to make uniforms and I'd surmise that with the end of the war the Navy no longer needed that manufacturing capacity and closed them. In fact there is a reference online (but not the full story)

To show how the Depot took over one responsibility from the Naval Clothing Factory, here's an excerpt from 1947 Navy uniform regulations:

"Standard samples of uniforms and insignia, as approved by the Bureau of Naval Personnel, shall be kept at
the Naval Clothing Depot."

And from the 1905 uniform regulations:

"Standard samples of every article mentioned in these regula­tions shall be kept at the Naval Clothing Factory. "

One thing to keep in mind is that WWII officer's uniform can have a "Naval Clothing Depot" tag inside (and luckily the officer's uniforms often have dates written on the tags).

Please post labels and if you have good photos of the details that set uniforms of one era apart from another please post those as well.

#2 QED4

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 11:51 AM

Jeff Warner in his book US Navy Uniforms and Insignia 1943-46 Vol 5 states that embroidered labels with Navy Clothing Factory were used from the late 1930s to 1943 with the later ones adding a line for Name and for Rate. In 1943 they switched to the same label but printed not embroidered. In 1944 they added the size and 100% Wool to the label. In 1945 they changed them to Naval Clothing Depot. As with everything in the military, things that are still in the supply system are issued so the older style labels were still issued well after these dates. These are the dated when the manufacturing changed.


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Posted 05 April 2013 - 01:56 PM

Hi bob,

I update your very interesting topic with new elements I discovered in a 1968 naval postgraduate school thesis "Evolution of the navy supply support organization"

Naval Clothing Depot Brooklyn (created in july 1933) was closed in january 1951.

In september 1947, the Clothing Supply Office Brookyn was created. It was closed in april 1957 and the Navy Clothing & Textile Office took its place.
NC&TO was closed in july 1966. Defense Supply Agency at this date was in charge of its job.


#4 subsystem4

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 02:07 PM

Somebody should pin this.

#5 Larmo



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Posted 10 March 2014 - 08:58 AM

Hi Bob,

Thank you so much for that research.  I have looked in the reference books and see nothing relating to that label.  I have a two groupings that have that label inside the uniform for two WAVES.  They both served in WWII.  One also served quite a while after that but the more current uniforms (Vietnam) have entirely different labels inside.

Your posting really helps!

Terri Stewart

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