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Posted By: Dave Gaddy on: 06/03/2003 08:12:43 EDT
Subject: RE: Federal Signal Insignia BUYER BEWARE!

Message Detail:
It must be confusing to Daniel and others that we don't have a simple answer to his question. But this whole subject is a "work in progress," and we learn as we go. That was a great primer, Walt. Several points to emphasize: Don't believe everything sutlers offer; and (to quote Pres. R.) "trust...but verify."
For the two Walt cites, "fantasy" is a good word for Fall Creek's fascinating variety. (They offer to make up insignia per individual order, but ask for documentation--I'd love to see their documentation for, e.g., the shoulder straps, and other sig corps items.) Fair Oaks is closer, but I agree with Walt as to dimensions. Their officer's hat badge is pre-1864 order (which specified torch). Main point for re-enactor em is the crossed flags (no torch until 1891). The order states staff three inches, flags ("red and white on dark blue cloth"--no indication of pairing or "what went in front") 3/4" sq with centres 1/4" sq. (Officer's hat badge specified flags 3/8" sq with centres 1/8" sq and staffs 1 and 1/16" long, so you can draw these out for comparisons.) I agree, based on the "Echoes of Glory" ref he cites, that staffs should be thinner and longer than those offered by Fair Oaks.
I'd caution care in use of Katcher's work as authoritative (e.g., C3: both sleeves, red forward on both, flags too large in proportion, angle of separation too wide, and staffs too short in proportion, based on 1864 order).
Most authoritative ref I've found is LTC William K. Emerson's "Chevrons: Catalog of U.S. Army Insignia," based on examination of Smithsonian collection and research in depth, with documentation and illus, pub by Smithsonian in 1983. (Down side is availability: Just checked and found two copies, both in $4xx range!) He credits Nicodemus in 22 Jul 64 letter asking for ok on uniforms and insig. (He wanted the crossed flags on both sleeves; SecWar, for some unexplained reason, vetoed that: left sleeve only, came the order.) Capt Joseph Spencer of the Washington Sig Bureau ordered 45 dozen sleeve badges on 22 Aug 64 from Charles De Frondat of Boston. Spencer's specifications were dimensions as noted above here, embroidered in silk on dark cloth, cost not to exceed $3 per dozen. Note that there is no hint of pairing at this stage.
(The "two sleeve" bit returns in 1868, when an order specified one sleeve for unqualified em and both sleeves for qualified--whereas regs said both NCOs and pvts would wear on both sleeves!) Elaboration with bullion, etc., officially post-war.
Even after the torch added to em in 1991, state militia sig still retained the older (watch out on eBay).
I realize that such details aren't of interest to all of us, and I'd prefer simple anwers myself, but that's where we are. We know that crossed long pole flags AND TORCH were used on commercially printed envelopes as early as 1862. But any wearing of torch by em was unauthorized "at the top" and officially banned by the 1864 orders.
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