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Back to the doughboy uniforms?

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Does the BSA still offer customized numeral strips?

My son's Pack has a 4-digit unit number. Rather than buy and sew on 4 different numbers, I was planning on ordering a dozen customized 4-digit strips from scoutshop.org; however, I did not see that option available. I know they've sold them previously because I ordered them 20 years ago as my Crew's Treasurer. They look infinitely sharper than the 4 individual numerals. You've got to be a sewing pro to get those to line up perfectly.

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Talk about serendipity- I wore this WWI uniform adorned with scout accoutrements yesterday at my local Veterans Day parade. It’s a vintage WWI uniform (found on eBay), with BSA collar brass that I sewed on.  The ASM pin is just a modern 1st class pin that I painted red. 

The 2nd pic is a cotton m1912 reproduction. 

Repro military uniforms can be purchased from What Price Glory , mantheline.com, replicators.com, etc. 


To my knowledge, BSA never adopted this particular uniform. They used the high standing collar uniform with bellows pockets based on the M1910 tunic. All pics of scouters in tunics with stand-up choker collars are military uniforms (M1912 -M1918). BSA’s next uniform jacket was the safari style. 



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15 hours ago, mrjohns2 said:

Four-Digit Custom Unit Numeral - Green | BSA® (scoutshop.org)

I really like the more subdued tan ones for Scouts BSA. 

Personally I wish it would go back to red for all programs, including Sea Scouts. Save folks some money when crossing over, and cut down on inventory/ supply costs. But  i know they have a lot of inventory, especially Sea Scout.


On 11/12/2022 at 11:30 PM, mrjohns2 said:

 Wry cool,  it none in in compliance with the standards. Make a troop patch for a hat or neckerchief or temporary patch. 

May not be in compliance, but a heckuvalot cheaper and easier than buying veteran bars every 5 years. As for using location instead of CO's name, way things are going it is a safer bet even if not compliant. I know of one unit that has had 3 COs in the past 18 months! 

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On 11/7/2022 at 12:58 PM, Engines said:

Any recommendations on sourcing for the uniforms and buttons?

There are a number of online retailers that can sell you reproduction tunics (the coat) and breeches (the pants). As has been said previously, the uniforms are expensive to most people's budgets. My troop turned 100 in 2017. I actually had been working on a "centennial" uniform for a few years prior to that. Here's me wearing it back in 2017, flooded by a picture of the tunic closer up.


I recommend the US army M1912 tunic in the summer cotton fabric instead of the more expensive, heavier, and probably scratchier wool fabric. The tunic and breeches will probably cost about $350 as a set. To go along with that you'll probably want to purchase a $25 pair of wool puttees to wrap around your legs from your boots up to just below your knees.  I am wearing them in the first picture. Most companies that sell reproduction uniforms can tailor the tunic and breeches to your specific measurements. In addition, the one thing you will want them to not include are the epaulets. BSA tunics didn't have them. All that gets you though is the uniform without any of the insignia. This is where you will either hate or love hunting down the patches and brass items. 


I chose to go with a tunic as worn by a scoutmaster in 1917. On the left-side sleeve are 24 teens era type A square merit badges. These are roughly equivalent to what I personally earned when I was a scout in the 1980s. You can buy many of them on eBay in very decent condition for about $5-$10 each, at least for the common ones. The trick is getting someone who can sew each of them onto the sleeve. Above the merit badges is an Eagle patrol ribbon. Above the top left pocket is the rare two line Boy Scouts of America logo patch used for a few years in the teens. The single line version is more common, but wasn't used until the end of the decade. The shield pin on the pocket flap below it is a Liberty Loan sales pin, which many scouts participated in during WW1. On the collar are the brass BSA pin and a "5" unit numeral pin. All of the buttons are genuine BSA brass and not too difficult to get. They are easily removable too. That's my Eagle Scout medal next to the Life and Star patches above the right side upper pocket. On the upper right pocket flap is another Liberty Loan sales medal. On the right side sleeve from the top going down is a unit number patch, a Scoutmaster patch, a bugler patch and then a 5 year veteran patch. That's a BSA brass whistle on the cord. This tunic photo is from about 2015, when I wanted to wear to my Troop 5 100th year anniversary celebration. Most units didn't wear both the collar brass numeral and the unit numeral patch on the shoulder, but I thought it made the tunic all the more interesting. Not all of the things on the tunic are essential, and many scouts wore far fewer patches on their uniform. The collar brass, a few merit badges, a rank patch, and the BSA logo patch being the most common. I wear this uniform on special occasions, maybe 3-4 times per year. I wore it more often during the BSA Centennial year, as well as when I was more actively doing Friends of Scouting presentations. Now I mainly wear it to Troop Court of Honor ceremonies or special history talks. In short, it was fun to put together for a sentimental collector like me, but it wasn't cheap, and it took me a fair bit of time to track down and purchase all the patches, none of which are available as reproductions. 

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On 11/13/2022 at 11:57 AM, cm289 said:

To my knowledge, BSA never adopted this particular uniform. They used the high standing collar uniform with bellows pockets based on the M1910 tunic. All pics of scouters in tunics with stand-up choker collars are military uniforms (M1912 -M1918). BSA’s next uniform jacket was the safari style. 

The first manufacturer of the BSA uniform in 1910 was the Sigmund Eisner company in Red Bank New Jersey. They were a major supplier of uniforms to the US military and the early BSA uniforms made by them were derived from them. After about 1912 the collar of the BSA tunic was switched from the straight collar with holes for insignia to the "stand and fall" collar that became ubiquitous for WW1 era scouts. The main difference was that the BSA uniforms never had epaulettes in the early years. Those got added much later.

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