patches

Patch Trading

Nobody knows when the first swap of Order of the Arrow emblems took place, but it had to be soon after the first badges of Wimachtendienk appeared. In the early years there was no trading of OA insignia. The first insignia in 1916 were pins. Pins were made of silver or gold. They were relatively expensive, certainly when compared to patches. An Unami Lodge gold Second Degree pin in 1919 might have cost $2.00; the cost of 20 die-cut felt camp monogram patches. No one was trading them with each other.

OA Patches Approved for Uniform Wear

While patches are now pervasive in the Order of the Arrow, at the beginning of 1945, Arrowmen were still prohibited from wearing any OA patch on their uniform. This was related to the independence of the Order from national BSA. The BSA Uniform Committee had not permitted WWW patches on the uniform and the National Lodge dutifully requested compliance. However as often is the case, not everyone complied.

History of Pocket Flap

It is strongly recommended by the National Committee that these emblems be made to fit the shape of the right shirt pocket flap. The right shirt pocket flap has been approved by the National Committee on Badges and Insignia for official Order of the Arrow Insignia where the other emblems are only temporary insignia when used on the uniform. It should be realized that this is a great advantage and a compliment to the Order of the Arrow. -THE ORDER OF THE ARROW HANDBOOK pp. 64 & 72, 1954 printing, 1950 edition

In the 1930s the Scout uniform was a showcase for all sorts of colorful Scouting related insignia on the shoulders, sleeves, and collars, as well as above and on the pockets. In fact, the only areas of the Scout uniform spared from this potpourri of decoration were the back of the shirt and pocket flaps. The pocket flap eventually became the official location for wearing Order of the Arrow insignia, but not without a few twists and turns.

First Approval for Patches

Up until 1926, pins were the only insignia approved for use by Arrowmen. This had been the rule in both the first Constitution of Wimachtendienk in 1916 and the constitution framed at the 1921 Grand Lodge Meeting. When the Order expanded to a dozen lodges at least two of them desired patches as insignia.

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