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uss new jersey tallyed dress cap

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this was added to the family of enlisted naval head gear today. it is from a member of the first uss new jersey that was laid down in 1904. it is not the flat style but, the later. name inside is hard to read. here she is BB-16.

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this was added to the family of enlisted naval head gear today. it is from a member of the first uss new jersey that was laid down in 1904. it is not the flat style but, the later. name inside is hard to read. here she is BB-16.

. That is the style used from 1893-1933. The style with the smaller top, which you see in WW2 replaced this style

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It looks like it might be missing it's stiffening ring...which is not uncommon, because they often took those out so they could fold them up and store them flat in their seabags.


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It looks like it might be missing it's stiffening ring...which is not uncommon, because they often took those out so they could fold them up and store them flat in their seabags.

. No, the grommet is in place. This style did not have the stiffener in the front like the 1933-1963 version.

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No, the grommet is in place. This style did not have the stiffener in the front like the 1933-1963 version.

 

Am not referring to the stiffener that in the front that gives the 1933-1963 version a saddle shape, but the removable hoop/ring/grommet that stretches the tops of the earlier ones out to give them their characteristic flatness. You might be correct that one is there, but it does not appear to be properly doing it's job.

 

Not all of the grommets are the same...same function, not always the exact same construction...but from the era of this hat most are...covered metal...that has a small metal clip that holds the metal hoop/ring/grommet together...and also allows for some adjustment. Not easy adjustment, because once they got the size right these clips were crimped into place. However, over the years these do sometimes slip because the wrapped thread or fabric that covers the metal banding goes away under the clip. I think the clips were maybe always somewhat of an issue. You often see them hand wrapped with extra thread to hold them in place and to keep them from possibly bleeding rust to the outside of the cap.

 

I think those earlier flat hats have some neat time tested features to them...some...like these grommets evolved to be more functional over time...mostly meaning to become easier to remove starting about the turn of the last century. The ability to remove them to be able to fold the hat flat is a much easier and practical way of storage...especially in a seabag. The other advantage is the grommets could be removed on windy days or when flat hats were a part of the required uniform, but work on a ship made them impractical to wear.

 

The funny thing is I suspect there is some Civil War era old salt laughing at the discussion of grommets. He'd be saying he still wonders who the idiot was that thought a perfectly functional hat had to be stretched out flat on the top!


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Am not referring to the stiffener that in the front that gives the 1933-1963 version a saddle shape, but the removable hoop/ring/grommet that stretches the tops of the earlier ones out to give them their characteristic flatness. You might be correct that one is there, but it does not appear to be properly doing it's job.

 

Not all of the grommets are the same...same function, not always the exact same construction...but from the era of this hat most are...covered metal...that has a small metal clip that holds the metal hoop/ring/grommet together...and also allows for some adjustment. Not easy adjustment, because once they got the size right these clips were crimped into place. However, over the years these do sometimes slip because the wrapped thread or fabric that covers the metal banding goes away under the clip. I think the clips were maybe always somewhat of an issue. You often see them hand wrapped with extra thread to hold them in place and to keep them from possibly bleeding rust to the outside of the cap.

 

I think those earlier flat hats have some neat time tested features to them...some...like these grommets evolved to be more functional over time...mostly meaning to become easier to remove starting about the turn of the last century. The ability to remove them to be able to fold the hat flat is a much easier and practical way of storage...especially in a seabag. The other advantage is the grommets could be removed on windy days or when flat hats were a part of the required uniform, but work on a ship made them impractical to wear.

 

The funny thing is I suspect there is some Civil War era old salt laughing at the discussion of grommets. He'd be saying he still wonders who the idiot was that thought a perfectly functional hat had to be stretched out flat on the top!

. I agree with what you are saying. I believe the metal grommet is there, but weakened. Hats, of this era, without a grommet are very obvious.

 

Interestingly, even during theACW, Sailors were finding ways to stiffen the tops of their "Liberty" Caps with quilted stiffeners.

 

Interestingly, in 1883, when the Navy decided to standardize everything, they came up with a novel idea. They asked the Sailors what the Ed Y wanted for uniforms. The 14 inch flat hat, broad fall trousers and hoping with stars on the collar and cuffs of the jumper were on the list. These features had been part of the liberty uniform for many years. Sadly, the wide top cap was a bit inconvenient for a working cap.

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Yes, you are right about the quilted stiffeners....some of those hats get to be almost flat. I think the big year for an attempt at standardization of enlisted uniforms was 1886, but there were both rather floppy and very flat hats worn in the post Civil War period up to that....which is one of the reasons the Navy was trying to make things more uniform.

 

Then of course things got interesting when sailors wanted to go wider...as wide as they could get away with. Not to nit pick, but the measurement that became important for inspections was not the total size across the top, but the distance from the band to the edge of the cap. That is because head size effects the distance across. I can't recall from memory the number of inches, but the last of the flat hats have only a few inches of overhang...short enough that they become easy to spot.

 

Lots of fun and interesting variations to these hats...especially before 1890's


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