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NPS Associated


Arrowhead Patch
Cap Insignia
Collar Ornaments
Hatband & Straps
Law Enforcement Insignia
Length-of-Service Insignia
Sleeve Brassards
Tie Ornaments & Pins




ORNAMENTATION: Tie Ornaments & Pins

In the early years the coat was usually kept buttoned, negating the need for a tie tack or bar. Occasionally, a stick pin or other such ornament shows up in a photograph, but for the most part, nothing was used to hold the tie down even when the coat wasn't worn.

The first tie ornaments were authorized on February 13, 1956. Amendment No. 12 to the 1947 uniform regulations states, "If a tie clasp is used the National Park Service emblem tie clasp is suggested." This first Service tie clasp consisted of a hidden bar with a chain looped over the tie and a small arrowhead emblem, in gold or silver, suspended from the middle of the chain. This was only a suggestion, and photographs show that a lot of employees used plain chain ornaments as well as bars. As fashion changed, so did the ornaments. The arrowhead was next put on a bar, then a tie tack. One did not necessarily succeed the previous style. In 1965 all three were available from Balfour Supply Service, Inc.

Lake Mead rangers
This image of the Ranger Force at Lake Mead. c.1947, is unusual since it shows almost everyone with some sort of device securing their tie, all different. Most rangers didn't wear any sort of ornament on their tie since the coat was usually worn, negating the need. NPSHPS/HFC#LAME 3a

With the 1956 uniform regulations, the wearing of a tie clasp remained optional but if one was worn it had to be the National Park Service emblem (arrowhead).

The 1961 uniform regulations still listed tie ornaments as optional,although now it was specified that if one were worn, it would be the "official National Park Service silver (gold for superintendents) tie tack." When worn. tie tack was to be "centered at third button down, starting with the neckband button, the clutch pin piercing both tie ends and the anchor chain bar secured through the shirt buttonhole."

As stated previously under badges, in January 1962 a silver "tie tack style" pin was authorized as an option for women employees, in lieu of the regulation badge. Although this pin conforms to the size and design of the men's tie tack, it was stamped from a different die. All surface features are either raised or diked, as if the pin was originally designed to be enamel-filled. Word from the field is that they were crudely constructed and the pin on the back was in constant need of repair.

Jack Nealis
Before the advent of a regulation governing the wearing of a tie tack, some rangers, such as Ranger Jack Nealis at Death valley. 1939, just tucked they tie into their shirt, Army fashion... NPSHPC/DEVA653.531#518

H. Donald Curry
...while others, such as Park Naturalist, H. Donald Curry, also 1939, let theirs blow with the wind. NPSHPC/DEVA651.53 1#522

In late 1963, authorization was given for the wearing of enameled tie tacks, or "pinettes", as they were called, instead of the plain gold or silver. These were of gold or silver with a multi-colored enamel fill. Either color metal could be worn, but superintendents were to designate which, in order for their entire park staff to be uniform. [77] In 1964. V. H. Blackinton and Co. began making these tie tacks in "HiGlo" (enamel) and "Rhodium" (enamel) for $2.25 and $2.50, respectively. These enameled tie tacks could be used by both uniformed and non-uniform employees.

As stated in the Arrowhead section, in 1966. the National Park Service initiated a service-wide program entitled MISSION 66. An outgrowth of this, and a pet project of Director George B. Hartzog, Jr., was another project called, PARKSCAPE USA. It's emblem was three intertwined angles surrounding three round dots. This emblem was also converted into a tie tack and authorized to be worn in place of the arrowhead, if so desired. Most uniformed personnel, however, preferred the arrowhead, with it's symbolism, to the abstract PARKSCAPE design.

Yosemite rangers
This image from Yosemite National Park, 1960, shows the early placement of the name tag over the left pocket. Kowski (the designer of the experimental 1955 badge) is wearing one of the early arrowhead tie tacks. This tie tack came in with the 1961 regulations, but like a lot of items in those provisions, was purchased in the intervening year. NPSHPC-Jack E Boucher photo-HFC#60-JB-1173

Left to right: Myron Sutton, Frank Kowski, Ted Thompson

With the design change of Interior's seal in 1968 and Director Hartzog's pressing his PARKSCAPE USA agenda, one of the casualties was the arrowhead tie tack. The small triangular pin be came the official tie tack of the National Park Service.

With the Interior seal reverting back to the buffalo in 1969, the attempt to replace the Arrowhead with the PARKSCAPE symbol was abandoned. The Arrowhead shoulder patch was reinstated, but the latter was retained for the official tie tack. The little triangles. now gold and green enamel, remained in use until 1974, at which time the arrowhead once again came back into use.

This photograph is one of a series that were taken in 1974 to illustrate the different ranger uniforms and the proper way to wear them. This particular image shows the summer shirt. The 1970 name tag and badge are shown as well as the gold tie tack. NPSHPC/HFC#74-1599-13

In 1976, the country's Bicentennial brought forth a number of decorations for the uniform. One ornament was an adaptation of the standard arrow head tie tack with "American Bicentennial" on a curved bar across the top. These were made by Blackinton. This tie tack was authorized as a replacement for the standard tie tack in a Memo by Acting Director Raymond L. Freeman on April 16, 1976, and continued until December 31, 1977. It's use was not mandatory, but, nevertheless, strongly encouraged. Cost was $3.25 per 100.

Service uniforms were becoming very cluttered. After the Bicentennial fanfare was over, reaction set in and the uniform was stripped of extraneous paraphernalia. Only the basics were retained: collar ornaments, badge, arrowhead patch and tie tack. The uniform remains in this condition today.

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Last Modified: Fri, Jan 17 2003 07:08:48 am PDT

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