Re: (Finally!) Square Knots WWW page
Mike Walton ("Settummanque)
Wed, 22 Nov 1995 02:48:18 -0600
Jeff Babis wrote (and let out a secret that I wasn't supposed to comment on):
>>According to the 1995 Insignia Guide, "Right side up. The loop of the
>>embroidered square knot that comes in front of the standing part is always
>>to the wearer's right..."
>>......but it is the opposite of what you have scanned and displayed.
>Great Web Page!
>According to National Supply, a couple years ago there was a big (huge)
>batch of Arrow of Light knots which were made with the thread colors
>reversed, and no one in quality control caught the error until they had been
>distributed to many Council Trading Posts. It was too costly for them to be
>recalled. Besides, you do have to look closely to see the difference.
Who told you, Jeff!! *heheheheee*
Right after Desert Storm was over, I rented a car and went down to Charotte,
North Carolina to the BSA's National Distribution Center. I have a friend
of mine (nameless, because lots of pros know him and I'd get him in LOTS of
trouble if it was told that a volunteer was allowed access to the "dungeon"
of the Supply Center)
there that met me for lunch and afterwards, brought me into the Supply Center.
Gang, you would NOT believe the stuff that we have paid for that ends up
being destroyed!! Backpacks that have rips in them. Flashlights that have
slight bent places. One of those large aluminum pots with a dent on the
side. Several knives that won't open properly. The BSA's Supply Division
tries as hard as they can to insure that the stuff that we buy in the
catalogs and from the Shops are as good as they get. Most of us know that
we can buy the same quality stuff for a cheaper price with the BSA's seal or
indicia on it...but at the same time, nobody ever looks at Coleman's or
Victorox's stuff to make sure that it's "acceptable for the Scouts".
On this day, there was continued fallout from the Arrow of Light and Merit
Medal "fallout". See, in 1990, the BSA decided to change the background
colors (finally, after much prompting from us in the field) of ALL of the
knots from the old khahi to the present khahi-tan color. Some wise-nut at
the Supply Division sent a memo to all of the Councils informing them that
"the same square knot used for the Merit Medal will now be used for the Den
Leaders' Coach Training Award, so that Scouters can now wear this knot with
the appropriate background on the field shirt".
Never mind the REASON, as Earle Peterson had to explain in a note to the
field later on, that the Cub award has a dark blue background is to
DISTINGUISH it from the award for superior service to Scouting (the Merit
So you had local Councils throwing out Merit Medal knots into the *same bin*
Den Leader Coach Training Award, and doing the same thing with the Heroism
knot and the Honor Medal with the OA Distinguished Service Award because "it
was the same knot, just worn by OA members in Explorer Ships or on the old
shirts". (As I commented to this guy, "this is why we need former volunteers
and former Scouts as professionals!!") My host spent several minutes during
the "tour" answering questions from field executives and from the "brass at
the National Supply Division" about "what happened" and "what's the impact
going to be?"
So, it was a real hayday for patch collectors and traders, because finally
they got instant access to the BSA's special awards for heroism without
having to divest entire collections or pay extra high monies for the small
patches!! I stopped in the Council office in Charotte and sure enough, there
was the knots plain as day in the same bins as the less-rare awards. Yes, I
bought SEVERAL of each.
As this guy took me down a hall way filled with racks of REALLY OLD AND NEAT
he explained the latest "oops". When the Arrow of Light Square knot was
redesigned with the current khahi-tan background, the BSA sent the order to
two patch makers.
One of them reversed the colors so that the knot appeared to be a mirror
image of the sample one they sent along with the swatch of shirt material to
insure a good background match. And the BSA "ate the costs" of that
mistake. The answer: "Send them down to the Councils...nobody will really
catch the differences and besides, they wear them upside down half the time
anyways!!" I wasn't "supposed to know anything about this...it could be
really embarrassing if it was told that we messed up on this great a scale!"
Patch traders have, and they've been contacting National to get MORE of
This is why after months of the Distribution Center sending those out to
anyone that had a valid credit card and a telephone number, MOST of the
BSA's special award knots are now considered "restricted items" and can now
ONLY be purchased through request from the local Council. They have taken
those knots completely out of the regular supply system and placed them at
the National level. You will find that this is true with position patches
above the local Council level as well, as it was nothing to request a set of
Regional Committee patches from the Distribution Center and have them sent
to your home by UPS.
One thing that really sank my heart was that after ten years on the shelf,
any program support item that is left is thrown into dumpsters in the rear
left side of the building. I mean patches, beltloops, books, binders,
anything with the BSA logo on it is taken in large bins out to the
dumpsters, thrown in them, and they are taken out to some landfill. I was
hoping that this guy would have had one of the old Exploring unit flags
without the lettering (the flag design has changed from the old red and blue
design to the present all-blue design) and a old ALL OUT FOR SCOUTING!
cardboard card of the Crest of Leadership. "No dice", he said, "We took
that stuff out to the dumpsters years ago. I may be able to scare one up for
you (he wasn't) from a trader friend of mine."
The dumpsters. I know of several memorbilia collectors that would love to
spend just ONE afternoon "dumpster diving" and getting some of the BSA's
materials out for keeping or later trading!
I guess it's okay to comment on it now, now that Jeff has heard it from
someone else at the Supply Division. Goes to show that we're not perfect
beings, and that it does PAY to go to your Council office and just look
around. You'll never know what you'll find!
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle) (
Internet Operations Center Coordinator, CLR Technologies Inc. __)_
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