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The Necker - an historical perspective

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Greetings Forum,


I am a fledgling Trainer for my pack and I am attending Trainer's EDGE in a couple of months. For my presentation, I was thinking it would be fun to look at the neckerchief: to tuck or not to tuck, style vs. substance, historical precedent, uses of, etc.


I am hoping for some guidance as to where to look for interesting tid-bits of necker lore. Anything you have will be useful. I may have to trim the topic a bit for the 12 minute time slot, but right now I'll take all I can get.


With thanks to all,


Mike Paull

Pack Trainer (in Training)

#28 Medina, NY

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Historically the necker was worn over the tucked-under collar ( if your shirt had a collar), and was much larger. Also the original neckers were square.


I want to say in 1972 with "urban scouting," the necker became smaller, the option to wear it under the open collar came about, as well as the option to not wear one at all. ( don't like that one.)


Luckily national supply is starting to make the the proper size again.


Try these links





This link say's 33" square, but I think it should be 36" square






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Those scouts who have an "older, more experienced" leader will wear their necker with a slip knot in the end (Boy Scout Handbook, 7th Edition, page 59).


In my Troop, the tradition was that we secured the ends of the necker with a square knot, and each patrol had their own necker color.


You will frequently see Scouts from Europe wearing a necker without a woggle (or "neckerchief slide," if you prefer), but theirs are usually tied at the end with a friendship knot (http://www.hoac-bsa.org/Libraries/Resourse_Forms_Documents/RES_Friendship_Knot_Instructions.sflb.ashx). They'll even wear a necker with jeans and a t-shirt! Yet, as long as that necker is on, they are identifying themselves as a Scout.


BTW - just completed Trainer's EDGE yesterday, and they made us stay to 10 minutes.



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I'm always at a loss when people say the neckerchief always used to be over the collar, back before ODL shirt.


Everyone I knew had collarless shirts built to accomodate the neckerchief perfectly; events, etc. sold cool neckerchiefs, so I liked them. You could pick one out like you do a tie today.

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Indeed the LS shirt did have a collar and accommodated a tie -- and at one time, there was also a 'uniform coat' - the first ADC I trained with in '76 still wore one.


Square neckers all the way! Of course, I think I still have one or two from my days as a Scout - but even then ('69-76), they were not common.


BTW - for anyone searching for the stamp that '92 mentioned - http://www.myphilately.com/asset/u91188_Nederland205.jpg


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Actually I have a s/s shirt from the mid-late 70s thta had a collar. I beleive the addition of the collar to s/s is from 1972 when the necker became optional, as well as how you wore it. I know that earlier editions of the BSHB state that the necker is worn over a tucked under collar.

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mpaull, LS is short for Long Sleeve, ODL=Oscar De Larenta who designed the shirts for the circa 1980 Boy Scout Uniform. And Eagle92 is correct that there were s/s shirts with collars available in the mid 70's, but not as early as '72 as I recall. They became an option in about 1975, but until the ODL shirst came out the collarless style remained available.




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Wow - this is rapidly becoming a huge presentation - I think I could talk for a couple of hours on the necker and the slides - heck, a powerpoint of whittlin jim's stuff would be a sizeable undertaking in itself.


Thanks for all the great information. I still haven't decided on the exact route I'm going to take yet (still have 1 1/2 months until the meeting), so keep the necker related ideas coming.


Thanks again to all - maybe I'll try to get the final presentation online somehow so you can see how it turned out.

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Neckers weren't worn for the first 20 years of Scouting, but became it's trademark after that. No matter where in the world you travel, when you see some kid wearing a necker the first thing you think of is Scouts. 99% of the time you're right even if they are wearing civies for everything else.


I wore a 1910 uniform at the Jamboree but I cheated and wore a 1937 Jamboree necker with it just to say I have a necker that was worn at both. The '37 is a square and lightweight and a pleasure to wear. Heck, when wearing a tunic collared wool uniform, I hardly noticed the necker at all! :)


I recent years I don't wear a necker that often because I'm 6' and having a necker that just barely goes around my neck looks pretty stupid. I wear the tie instead, so it's not an issue of having an open collar.


If a 36" square necker ever came back into vogue I'd wear it all the time. It's a lot easier to slip on a woggle than it is to tie a tie.


By the way... I HATE neckers under collars, they always looked jammed up, crooked and never lay nicely.



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