Detecting New Military Commemorative Badges and InsigniasBy

Detecting New Military & Commemorative Badges and Insignias

Many military and commemorative insignias and patches have been reproduced. Many of these new products are virtually exact replicas of early 20th century military originals because they are made with computer controlled stitching machines. Reproductions of hand made 19th century pieces were produced in Asia where they were sewn by hand.

One of the ways to detect most of these recently made pieces is with black light. Virtually all original patches and insignia made before WW II, ca. 1940s, were made of threads with natural fibers such as silk and cotton. The reproductions are now generally made with threads of polyester, nylon and other synthetic fibers.

Almost all synthetic threads fluoresce under black light; unless specially treated, natural fibers rarely fluoresce. Any materials using thread--such as insignias and patches as well as uniforms, flags, quilts, doll clothes, upholstery, etc.-- can be tested in this manner. Even if old fabric is used to make a repair in an original, the repair can be detected if modern synthetic thread is used.

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Fig. 1 Reproduction Zeppelin patch.

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Fig. 2 Reproduction Civil War patch, Confederate States of America. Synthetic threads fluoresce brightly under black light.