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M1895 Infantry Officer Trousers


SARGE

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Gents,

 

I have a pair of uniform trousers that came with a M1895 Infantry Officer uniform and they seem rather oddly made to me. They are unmarked but came with a 1915 dated M1895 Officer Coat.

 

My first thought was that the white leg stripe had been added after the period of use but now I am not at all certain after a thorough inspection. The tailor made trousers are light blue with a 1 1/4" white twill stripe down each leg. The twill stripe is sewn over the outside seam and the top end enters waist seam at the waistband. It continues to the end of the leg and is whipstitched along with the end of the pant leg which is also whipstitched with black cotton thread defining the smooth cuff. I have blacklighted these trousers and nothing reacts, including the white stripe and thread.

 

The trousers are made with no front or side pockets but they have two small watch/ticket pockets in the front. They also have two standard pockets in the rear along with a cotton half lining in the rear of the legs. I have seen the front of trousers with this lining to prevent them becoming knee sprung but these trousers are lined to prevent them from gettin rump sprung. The button fly trousers also have 2" belt loops along with suspender buttons and a high waist in the rear.

 

I am interested in thoughts or opinions on these tailor made trousers.

 

 

1895 trousers.JPG

1895 trousers waist.JPG

"You can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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Closeup photos.

 

 

1895 trousers stripe.JPG

1895 trousers interior stripe waist.JPG

1895 trousers interior stripe cuff.JPG

"You can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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Other views.

 

 

1895 trousers interior lining.JPG

1895 trousers open.JPG

"You can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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Hi Sarge. Nice pants for sure. You already know more than I do about them but I will say I too have a tailored pair that has the same treatment of the white stripe at the cuffs and waist but it is 1/2" instead of 1 1/4" wide as yours are. Seems like I recall reading that there is a meaning to the width of the white stripe. To me, your white stripe does not appear to be an after fact but original to the pants. No facts with this but I could see uniform pants being made without the stripe and then when issued as Cavalry, Artillery or Infantry the appropriate color stripe would be added. This probably would not apply to a custom tailored pair? Also, mine are enlisted with the standard 5 button sack coat. Thanks.

Check out my website of Military Relics and Collectibles: http://www.ourboysof98.com
I try to update it by adding several new items each month, so keep checking back.

Thanks,
keith

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Hi Sarge. Nice pants for sure. You already know more than I do about them but I will say I too have a tailored pair that has the same treatment of the white stripe at the cuffs and waist but it is 1/2" instead of 1 1/4" wide as yours are. Seems like I recall reading that there is a meaning to the width of the white stripe. To me, your white stripe does not appear to be an after fact but original to the pants. No facts with this but I could see uniform pants being made without the stripe and then when issued as Cavalry, Artillery or Infantry the appropriate color stripe would be added. This probably would not apply to a custom tailored pair? Also, mine are enlisted with the standard 5 button sack coat. Thanks.

 

Keith,

 

Many thanks for your thoughts on the trousers. I agree that it would certainly be logical to make the trousers and then add the appropriate colored leg stripe over the seam. I suppose this is particularly true of the wide stripes so they would not be off center if sewn into the seam. I have seen them done both ways. After thinking about it a bit more it also seems logical that since the seat and legs have a half lining that was already sewn into the seam the stripe would be sewn over the seam to re-enforce it. I am coming to the belief that this stripe is contemporary to the manufacture of the trousers.

 

What do you think about the trousers having no front or side pockets? No side pockets along the seam is logical to me with all that is going on there with the lining and stripe. Perhaps leaving out the front pockets helped the drape of the pants similar to sewing breast pockets shut so one would not put stuff in them?

"You can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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I agree, SARGE, about the reason for the lack of front pockets. A man fashionable enough to want tailor made pants would want a smooth appearance and probably would not have used the pockets anyway so why make them (in my opinion). Mine are on a mannequin so I can't look at the inside linings etc. but from the outside there are two front pockets with almost horizontal slits for opening and there is one rear pocket on the right side. They also do not have belt loops. I am thinking my pants are probably older and may be of a different regulation pattern. I do not know if mine are altered issue or tailor made. The cuffs are sort of a bell bottom to fit down over the shoes/boots. There also is a vest with it which was not an issue item for enlisted men so it was probably tailor made. Also, with the vest and the tailored pants I think my soldier was an "office type" where his appearance would be important. With your coat being dated the pants too are most likely from that time frame. I don't know the Regulations very well but believe there were changes in 1902/4 and again in 1910. I am surprised that the m1895 coat (with mohair trim, right?) was still an issue item. Perhaps pants were no longer issued so he was forced to have them tailor made in 1915. Just random thoughts I have. Regards. keith

Check out my website of Military Relics and Collectibles: http://www.ourboysof98.com
I try to update it by adding several new items each month, so keep checking back.

Thanks,
keith

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I agree, SARGE, about the reason for the lack of front pockets. A man fashionable enough to want tailor made pants would want a smooth appearance and probably would not have used the pockets anyway so why make them (in my opinion)... With your coat being dated the pants too are most likely from that time frame. I don't know the Regulations very well but believe there were changes in 1902/4 and again in 1910. I am surprised that the m1895 coat (with mohair trim, right?) was still an issue item. Perhaps pants were no longer issued so he was forced to have them tailor made in 1915. Just random thoughts I have. Regards. keith

 

Keith,

 

The M1895 Infantry Lieutenant's coat that goes with these trousers does have the mohair trim. The named label in the coat indicates that it was made by Ridabock & Co. in New York on March 24, 1915 so I assume the trousers were made around the same time period.

 

It seems this form of uniform dress lasted for a very long time in the Army. It started our as an undress uniform and later became a dress uniform after WWI. I am not certain what specific form of dress it would have been in 1915. It also came with a Model 1912 Officer cap, which would have been contemporary to the rest of the outfit it seems.

1895 uniform.JPG

"You can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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It seems this form of uniform dress lasted for a very long time in the Army. It started our as an undress uniform and later became a dress uniform after WWI. I am not certain what specific form of dress it would have been in 1915.

 

Until the Army got well into WW1 it was standard procedure for officers on a post to change into the blues when the day's duty was done, for dinner, socializing or whatever they did in the evening.

 

The blue trousers could also do double-duty with the mess jacket, so sometimes they had a more formal, high-waisted cut without pockets.

 

Justin B.

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Ah ha! Thanks for that information Justin. The cut and construction of the trousers makes sense then.

 

One other question... The coat has the seam opening, with a buttoned flap, for the sword hanger that is located just above the side slit on the left side. If this was still an "undress" uniform in 1915 would the M1902 Army Officer Saber still be worn on either a plain black leather belt and slings or alternately worn on black leather slings on an underbelt through the slit?

 

If worn as a dress uniform the belt and slings would be gold bullion with pale blue stripes.

1895 uniform sword slot.JPG

"You can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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That uniform changed from "undress" to "dress" in 1902, so after that I believe the belt would always be "dress." Also, the belt was never worn outside that pattern of coat. Since the gold-and-silk dress belt would not be visible there was no need to actually wear it, so a plain leather or web belt was commonly worn with the gold-embroidered dress slings attached.

 

Justin B.

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Thank you Justin. That also helps explain the belt loops on the trousers.

"You can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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  • 6 years later...

The Infantry wore both white and light blue as their branch color, depending on (1) when and (2) what article of clothing.

 

From the Revolution until 1851, the color worn by the Infantry was white.  From 1851-1857, the color worn by the Infantry was Saxony blue. From 1857-1886, it was sky blue. Once again, in 1886, the Infantry reverted to wearing white as their branch color.

 

This continued until 1902, when light blue was prescribed once again.  HOWEVER, white continued to be used on trouser stripes, the linings of officer's capes, and enlisted chevrons as late as 1917. As late as the 1930s, infantry officers continued to wear white stripes on their trousers (see the attached ad showing white trouser stripes & light blue cape lining - dating from just before WWII).

 

With regard to the saber slings that protruded from the M1902 high-collar dress coat, the plain black slings were used.  The full-dress (gold) saber slings were only worn on the full-dress uniform (high-collar, double-breasted, with its skirt extending to between the hip and knee).

 

The only surprise is that the white stripe is made of twill. Normally, it would have been made of wool (if he was a 2LT or 1LT, he might have purchased something less expensive.

 

You have a M1902 coat; the M1895 had a 'shorter' standing collar that had only one hook at the base & opened slightly at the top (see second photo below).

 

Officers wore trouser stripes that were 1 1/4" wide. NCOs wore trouser stripes that were narrower. Enlisted men did not wear stripes on their trousers.

 

The 1902 versions of the full-dress, dress, mess dress, and special evening dress uniforms of all kinds were discontinued during WWI and not reauthorized until 1927.  In 1936, the high-collar dress uniform was replaced with a roll-collar jacket (without pockets on the chest or hips). In 1937, pocket flaps were added, but the pockets themselves were hidden (inside). Dress uniforms were again discontinued during WWII, and revived afterwards. In 1953, the 'modern' Dress Blue uniform was adopted (with gold stripes for officers & enlisted, plus visible pockets on the chest).

Infantry officer with white trouser stripes and sky blue cape lining.jpg

M1895 undress coat (1LT John P. Wissner, 1st Artillery).jpg

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