The current shoulder-knot design was introduced in 1902, and for a period of nearly 30 years (1911 – 1938) shoulder knots were worn with rank insignia. Today’s shoulder knots, worn by both male and female officers on the Blue Mess Dress jacket, are unadorned with any type of insignia. We offer knots manufactured in rayon and synthetic.
Shoulder knots date back to the Revolutionary War and uniform regulations issued by General George Washington in 1780 stating that these appurtenances were to be worn by corporals as an indication of rank. Shortly afterwards, shoulder knots were prescribed for both sergeants and corporals, with the higher-ranked NCOs wearing them on both shoulders and corporals wearing them only on the right.
Although the 1851 uniform regulations mandated brass (as opposed to worsted) shoulder knots for members of the Dragoons and Artillery, it wasn’t until 1872 that shoulder knots became a component of all officers’ uniforms. The design used from that date until 1903 featured a series of loops sewn onto a padded back, with the color of the pad reflecting the wearer’s branch of service. A large, oval-shaped area at the bottom of the knot was used to display rank or branch insignia; an 1872 shoulder knot for an Ordnance officer, for example, featured the famous “shell and flame” insignia within the oval, bookended by rank insignia. Eventually, the insignia was replaced with the initials “O.D.,” a move replicated in the Medical Department, Corps of Engineers, and Adjutant General’s Department (later renamed Adjutant General’s Corps.)
While shoulder knots serve as an immediate indicator that the wearer is an officer, they have had a few critics who felt that they were a tad too ostentatious. In a monograph titled "Changes in the Uniform of the Continental and Later U.S. Army, 1774-1895," Captain (later Brigadier General and Medal of Honor recipient) Oscar F. Long wrote that dress uniforms could be made more “tasteful and attractive.” His suggestion: “Discard the unpopular shoulder knot and replace it with the epaulette for all officers, thereby satisfying taste as well as sentiment and brightening an otherwise somber uniform.”
US Army

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As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


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105 Apache Drive, Archdale, NC, 27263.