Wednesday, June 29, 2016

SearchResearch Challenge (6/29/16): Finding out what hats, badges, and patterns mean

Several years ago... 

... I went with a friend to the Edinburgh Tattoo. It's a wonderful, gigantic mass of Scottish pipes and drummers, with bands from around the world marching back and forth in formation, skirling the pipes and percussing the drums.  As a former drum major and a Scot-ophile, I thought it was just wonderful!  

(Your opinion about bagpipes might vary from mine, but it was fantastic.
I highly recommend attending if you're in Scotland in the summertime.) 

Massed pipes and drums at the Edinburgh Tattoo.

I sat through the performance with a knowledgeable friend from Edinburgh who was telling me about all of the units and brigades as they marched past.  "That's the Black Watch...and this group is wearing the tartan of Clan Campbell..."  He could tell me huge amounts of the history of each band just from the appearance of the plaid pattern of their kilts, the shape of their hats, and the particular badges they were wearing.  

It made me feel very much an outsider, I just didn't recognize anything.  That is, until the Regimental Band and Pipes from the Citadel (a military college in South Carolina) came onto the field, dressed in Confederate gray uniforms (although I don't think the Confederacy had an official plaid pattern, nonetheless...).  

Suddenly, I knew a GREAT deal about the band that was parading before us--and our mentorship roles were reversed.  When those uniforms marched past, I could tell my friend a lot about the history of the uniform, what the stripes on the arms meant, and what battles were fought--the entire history of Confederate military garb.

That evening I realized how much history and knowledge is carried along in the dress, the badges, the hats, and the patterns that we wear.  

This motivates today's Challenges.  

Hats are a very common sign of place and station in society.  Here are three hats to identify.  Can you figure them out? 

1.  Once upon a time, everyone wore hats.  But in this famous movie, what kind of hat is being worn by the man on the far left?  What's the name of that hat?  And what kind of person would wear such a thing?  

2.  Hats vary a LOT from place to place.  Can you figure out the name of this hat?  Where would this hat wearer be from?  

Closeup of this kind of hat... 

Trust me, there's no lat/long information here, and the pineapple is just a distraction.

3.  What's the name for the kind of badge shown below?  What kind of job does a person wearing these shoulder badges have?  (Hint:  Even though this is an archival photo, people with this job STILL wear these badges today.)  

4.  The pattern of plaid tells you a lot about the place where the wearer (or his military outfit) is from, and with it comes a whole lot of history.  What region of the world is THIS kind of cloth from?

As always, let us know HOW you found out the answers.  

It's okay to say FMOK--"From My Own Knowledge"--if you know, say so!  But if you had to search for it (like I did!), tell us how you did it.  


  1. 1. Kepi of a captain in the French foreign legion. Googled Casablanca French foreign legion hat.
    2. Campaign hat with "Montana crease" worn by British South Africa Company workers in Africa. Googled images of mountie hats, saw the campaign hat and Wikipedia did the rest.
    3. This one has me stumped. Could be French cavalry or Swedish mounted guard. Googled images for military hats (looking for distinctive spire ornament). Found a WWI French uniform called Jager zu Pferde which translated to mounted rifleman. Couldn't find anything with those shoulder badges (and yes I googled shoulder badges) I suspect I might have more luck on my desktop if I could search the image (I'm on my kindle fire).
    4. Madras plaid from India. Searched orange, yellow, green plaid on images and found the swatch on eBay.
    Not bad for my first time playing.

  2. 2. New Zealand Veterinary corp

  3. 3. Wings. Most likely a grenadier in drum and fife. Observed that the bagpipers had similar detail in uniform. Searched bagpiper uniform. Found they were called doublet shoulder shells from there found they were originally called wings. Wings are common to grenadier and drum uniforms. Searched grenadier on Wikipedia. Read through section on hats and thought shako sounded promising. Image searched shako and looks like a match.

  4. #3 are musicians swallows nests. I did an image search for the image shared and found at the bottom of the page is the description of the insignia including "He wears musicians swallows nests on his shoulders". A search of "musicians swallows nests" shows that armed forces musicians still wear these today.

  5. Good day, Dr. Russell and everyone.

    For Q1

    Didn't understand what "far left" means. That is the man in white or man in black clothes. Movie as you mention is very famous Casablanca.

    Tried Search by Image and results confirm movie. Then photo adding [Casablanca police hat]

    Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault

    [Captain Louis Renault intext:hat]

    Five hats worn in the 1942 movie Casablanca


    Searched by image the 2 photos and found SearchResearch link and next to it, Great War postcards.

    Doughboys with pineapple

    With Close up image search, came name "canterbury mounted rifles"

    Uniforms and Kit.
    Ctrl- F "Lemon-squeezer"

    [Lemon-squeezer hat] images show this is the one we are looking for

    Campaign hat, Wikipedia

    For Q3.

    Searched by image and found similar one

    German Colonial Uniforms clicked similar photo to get
    Uniforms and there Ctrl f "badges" to go here
    Searched the photo

    For Q4

    [Image plus uniform color meaning] Finding Tartans.

    [plaid colors meaning military]
    Tartan guide

    Lists of tartans

    [Image plus tartan] and [Image plus tartan red green yellow]
    Scottish register of tartans

    Also found reverse search tartans.


    1. Once upon a time, everyone wore hats. But in this famous movie, what kind of hat is being worn by the man on the far left? What's the name of that hat? And what kind of person would wear such a thing?

    A: If far left means Humphrey Bogart then Fedora. If not then "The Kepi" worn by Captain Louis Renault.

    [the kepi] Etymologically, the term is a loanword of the French képi, itself a re-spelled version of the Alemannic Käppi: a diminutive form of Kappe, meaning "cap".

    2. Hats vary a LOT from place to place. Can you figure out the name of this hat? Where would this hat wearer be from?

    A. New Zealand worn by Auckland Mounted Rifles. Also known as Campaign hat or "Lemon squeezer" hat (1912)

    3. What's the name for the kind of badge shown below? What kind of job does a person wearing these shoulder badges have? (Hint: Even though this is an archival photo, people with this job STILL wear these badges today.)

    From link mentioned above: "Musician of the Train Company East Asian Occupation Brigade c1901
    He wears the 1900/01 Field Grey Uniform with the unique field grey shako worn only by the Train and the short lived Jäger company. Note the musicians swallows nests, NCO rank lace on the collar and cuffs along with a chevron on the left sleeve. He wears the Prussian Wilhelm I Centenary Medal."

    He is a musician and the name is swallows nest

    4. The pattern of plaid tells you a lot about the place where the wearer (or his military outfit) is from, and with it comes a whole lot of history. What region of the world is THIS kind of cloth from?
    Nothing yet.

    1. [Define Tattoo] I only knew the mark with ink meaning.

      [scottish skirts origins] To remember the real neam Kilt

      [origins of the scottish kilt]

      A History of Scottish Kilts Early Scottish kilts were made using self-colored garments, which were white or dull brown, green or black as opposed to the multicolored plaids or tartan designs recognized today. As dyeing and weaving techniques improved during the late 1800s, tartan patterns were developed, and these plaid designs became native to Scotland using tartan cloth....The ban was lifted in 1782, at which time the kilt became an enduring symbol of Scottish identity throughout Scotland and the traditional kilt gave way to the creation of kilt garments using tartan patterns, which represented particular clans, families, regions or countries. Generally, when a buyer ordered a kilt, they requested a specific tartan, of which today, there are more than 3,500... it takes approximately 20 to 25 hours since nearly all the work is still done by hand...

      This site has very good links to read more.

      Reading other sites found that: A traditional 8 yard kilt is conventionally a man’s garment. And Google also told me: Traditionally, women and girls do not wear kilts but may wear ankle-length tartan skirts.

      Also interested in knowing more about Scottish clothes and since don't know the right word in English tried in Spanish [cuadros escoceses origen] and compare with what I found in English

      El origen del tejido de cuadros escoceses

      After reading comments:

      [madras tartan]

      What’s the Difference Between Plaid, Tartan and Madras?

      Different kinds of Tartans (in Spanish)

      Tartán Spanish Wikipedia Clan McLaren worn by Scouts

      Can you imagine a world without Scouting?

  6. 1. It is a French military hat called a Kepi.

    It looks like a variation of a French Senior Office from World War I. Since it is a movie it may not be completely accurate.

    2. I searched for rough rider hat and found some similar images which were not quite the same, but there was one that said campaign hat. So I searched images for military campaign hat and hit the jackpot.

    I thought the group looked like doughboys, so I Googled doughboys with pineapple and found the picture on a World War I site.

    However, the first picture looked more like a British infantryman from the same period, although I could not find one who wore that uniform with a campaign hat.

    3. I did a search by image, which produced a site with this picture:

    There I found that the badges designate musicians wings and are called Swallow’s Nests.

    When I did an image search using those words, I found multiple examples.

    4. I tried looking at images for red and green tartans and plaids, but found nothing. So I uploaded the image and did an image search and it is madras cloth, which is from India.

  7. 1. FMOK and watching this movie many times I knew it is KEPI. Flat top and a visor. THis particular one is worn by Captain Louis Renault of Casablance police.

    2. Image search found your image instantly: New Zealand's Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment OCt ober 1914. But someone else says its 2nd Wellington Mounted Rifles (New Zealand), World War I. New Zealand anyway. The hat in NZ is knwon as Lemon Squeezer. The familiar lemon squeezer hat is still worn for some special ceremonial occasions by today’s soldiers. Similar hats to the lemon squeezer were worn by both the US Army and the Canadians during World War I. Our RCMP use the same hat. NZ again: To keep the creases at the peak of the hat, soldiers would urinate on the top then use clothes pegs to squeeze the creases together. "We used to go to a lot of effort to make sure the bloody brim was flat.

    In British heraldry the pineapple is an icon of friendship and hospitality, just the eight symbol when you're lobbing bombs and grenades (also know as pineapples)

    3. [Shoulder badge] FMOK but checked via search. Epaulette is a type of ornamental shoulder piece or decoration used as insignia of rank by armed forces and other organizations. In several European armies epaulettes are also worn by all ranks of elite or ceremonial units when on parade. The piece joining it to the collar is called passant.

    4. Well, Image search says its Madras, so India would be the answer.

    Grand eclectic collection. jon

  8. A few loose notes on Captain Renault's kepi in Casablanca.

    Having worked with TV and cinema production companies, I know that police and military uniforms are recreated for fiction purposes. In Portugal they're not allowed, by law, to be exactly accurate, and I suspect this is the case everywhere in the world.

    Captain Louis Renault (the fictitious character) is head of police in Casablanca (Légion de Gendarmerie du Maroc, 1ère Compagnie, Section de Casablanca) in the French Protectorate in Morocco, in the end of 1941. (From the screenplay: "CAPTAIN LOUIS RENAULT, a French officer appointed by Vichy as Prefect of Police in Casablanca. He is a handsome, middle-aged Frenchman, debonair and gay, but withal a shrewd and alert official.")

    I couldn't find who the real person occupying a similar position at that time was. :/

    Here's a kepi claimed to belong to an official at the French protectorates (Morocco and Tunisia) of Vichy France, for sale on eBay.

    And here's a much more credible page with a whole uniform of a gendarme captain in 1940 (but not in the protectorates), for sale at Delcampe.

    Yet another kepi is said to be the real one, on a Spanish forum about World War II. On the topic "Uniformes que no cuadran" (Uniforms that do not fit), a certain von Thoma has written a post comparing Renault's kepi with a "képi original de un prefecto de la Policía francesa" (original kepi of French police prefect). The photo link (to an eBay article) is broken but I found a similar item, claiming to be the kepi of a "Commissaire" (1973-77).

    Finally, here's who could very well be the real "Louis Renault", if the photo's description is accurate. Funnily enough, he's got a Hitler's moustache (but that wouldn't be appropriate for the fictitious Renault, who is the comic relief in Casablanca and grows from more or less despicable to Rick's deserved best friend).

    While searching for the answer, I got the bonus of coming to realize that Renault's kepi is always tilted to the right side — thanks to an insightful poem titled "Renault's képi", on an interesting book titled Casablanca: The Poem, by Kildare Dobbs, a Canadian writer I am now willing to discover.

  9. 1) Image Search with description relating to the movie, Casablanca. It would be worthwhile comparing this hat to the real french foreign legion official hats. Next layer of search may be a book search for further details/confirmation.
    2)Image Search ´cropped´ to zoom in on distinguishable features. Again book search and possibly military museum for details/confirmation.
    3) Again image search to get the name & then google keyword search for current use.
    4) Image search with color descriptions. As well using the keyword tartan may direct to a tartan directory/museum. Have to be careful however not to zero in on "Scottish" tartan because other countries have their own tartans as well. A book search would likely identify the name and location which would be needed as confirmation.

    That's all for this week.