We know the Peking Legation Guard Marines were wearing a fur cap as early as 1906-7, if not earlier. We know these were either the Armys muskrat winter fur caps or purchased stateside from a vendor who made fur caps to similar specifications. A surviving example of this type of headgear is illustrated in Alec Tulkoffs excellent "Equipping the Corps" and shows a hat with brown muskrat fur. We see from photo evidence and from surviving records, this type of cap was worn through the early-mid-1920. By then the muskrat caps were reaching the end of their service life, and stateside stocks were no longer available.Since a fellow forum member is preparing an article for publication on this subject, I will not go into details of his findings, but the cold winters of Northern China demanded a solution be found.
What we do know is the Marines ended up contracting with local vendors for fur caps, with the eventual approval of Headquarters USMC. Given the timelines involved, I would estimate these Chinese made caps started reaching the Legation Guard Marines sometime around 1927-28. Color, material, shape and size, are as of yet, unknown on these early caps. But from photos we see the cap, like it muskrat predecessor had fur ear flaps, a folding front fur bill, and a ribbon tie that allowed to flaps to be tied together.
Here we see the early muskrat cap and the final evolution of the winter cap (photo courtesy of the BobGee collection). Although most wear the Tientsin model, at least one is wearing the rounder version. And below the hat offered that is neither of these
Edited by Dirk, 04 September 2017 - 08:24 AM.