During a 1926 meeting of The Committee on Badges, Awards and Requirements the committee approved three changes to the OPTIONAL patrol medallion effective January 1, 1927:
Broadcloth: The cloth is tightly woven before being dipped in water while being stretched on tenters, special racks that keep up the tension in the fabric. The water causes the wool to shrink when it is pulled out to dry. Next, the cloth is rubbed with fullers earth, and beaten with a wooden hammer. The result is a soft, almost felted cloth that is supple, smooth, and very soft. While wool is the traditional material for this fabric, cotton varieties are also manufactured.
Felt: To create felt, hot water is applied to layers of wool fibers, while repeated agitation and compression causes the fibers to hook together or weave together into a single piece of fabric. Wrapping the properly arranged fiber in a sturdy, textured material, such as a bamboo mat or burlap, will speed up the felting process. The felted material may be finished by fulling.
The 3A SILK EMBROIDERY VERSION is made utilizing a continuous loop embroidery method. This embroidery method creates a design on the front and back of the badge that are mirror images of each other. The 3B Cotton embroidery version has a white thread on the back. See Series 3B below.
The first announcement of the new OPTIONAL medallion was in the February 1927 issue of Scouting magazine, page 10. The Flying Eagle patrol medallion appears without any text explaining it. In the October 1927 issue of Scouting Magazine Equipment Number, page 11 the following appears:
“NO. 850. SHOULDER MEDALLION. Consist of patrol emblem embroidered in black silk on felt 2 inches in diameter. The colors will neither fade or run. Very attractive and very much in demand. Used to designate colors adopted by patrol. In ordering specify patrol name. Prepaid, each … 15¢”
The shoulder knot appears with the new OPTIONAL round medallion:
“NO. 1060. SHOULDER KNOT. Consist of four ribbons four and a half inches long of two colors worn on right shoulder fastened with a metal clasp (furnished) or sewn on. Prepaid set of eight 50¢. Each … 7¢”
During a 1929 meeting of The Committee on Badges, Awards and Requirements the committee decided that on December 31, 1929 the Shoulder Knot would be discontinued and the round patrol medallion would be the only emblem used to designate patrol membership.
The 3B Cotton Embroidery Version utilizes a different embroidery process known as “lockstitch embroidery.” This embroidery method is identified by the white lockstitch thread on the back of the emblem embroidery. Lockstitch embroidery machines are several time faster than the continuous loop embroidery machines. James West undoubtedly used a second embroider to make a few titles using the faster embroidery method to get pricing concessions from the main suppliers. Before 1939 James West insisted that all badges be made using silk thread because of the look of silk, thus only a few of the cotton version exist.
During a 1932 meeting of The Committee on Badges, Awards and Requirements recommended the letters “B.S.A.” be added to the bottom of the patrol medallion. The committee determined it was not possible to imprint the back pf the patrol medallion with the BSA seal and lines similar to what was imprinted on uniform cloth insignia. Adding the “B.S.A.” to the front added the necessary protection to the badges to avoid them being used by any other organization.
The 4A SILK EMBROIDERY VERSION is made utilizing a continuous loop embroidery method. This embroidery method creates a design on the front and back of the badge that are mirror images of each other. The 4B Cotton embroidery version has a white thread lockstitch on the back. See Series 4B below.
The first announcement of the patrol medallion with B.S.A. was in the November 1933 issue of The Scout Executive Equipment Number. A picture of the medallion appears on page 14. The following text description appears on page 12:
No. 851. Embroidered in black silk on red broadcloth. The colors will neither fade or run. In ordering specify Patrol name 10¢
No. 850 Plain Medallion … 10¢”
In 1939 the Boy Scouts of America sent a letter to embroidery suppliers informing them that as a result of the conflict in Asia they must discontinuing using silk in emblems for the Boy Scouts of America. The letter indicated that the suppliers could use up current inventories, but they must switch to cotton thread as soon as possible. This was actually good news to the suppliers. Switching to cotton thread allowed the embroider to switch to a high speed lockstitch embroidery machines. Although the embroiders switched equipment, embroiders were able to use the same embroidery pattern, thus the front of the emblems appear to be almost the same.
The 4B Cotton Embroidery Version utilizes an embroidery process known as “lockstitch embroidery.” This embroidery method is identified by the white lockstitch thread on the back of the emblem embroidery.