How the trousers of the U.S. Navy’s Enlisted Service Dress uniform—affectionately dubbed “crackerjacks” because of the Sailor on the box of the ubiquitous caramel-corn confection—wound up with a whopping 13 buttons has never been adequately explained. According to the Naval History and Heritage Command, a broadfall (flap) held in place by seven buttons was incorporated into the crackerjack trousers in 1864. Three decades later, the number was increased to 13, but no firm reason is given for nearly doubling the number of fasteners to secure the broadfall.

Another source says that the Navy first increased the number from seven to eleven before finally settling on the magical number 13 in 1905, while yet another pundit says that the trousers were adorned with an amazing 15 buttons in the early 19th century!

When it’s all said and done, though, we know three things for certain.

  • Crackerjack trousers have been manufactured with 13 buttons for over 100 years
  • The number of buttons wasn’t selected to represent the 13 original colonies
  • They still need to be replaced from time to time, either due to loss or damage
And not just any black button will do. Navy regulations call for the buttons, which are also used on the blue and white jumpers, to be 25-ligne and to be manufactured with the image of anchor in the middle.
Button Size
25 Ligne

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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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Salute Industries Inc, proud maker of The Salute Uniforms.
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