Sample [Also Manufacturer’s Sample, Prototype Patch]
Pre-production patch used by a manufacturer to obtain customer approval for full-scale production. Samples are sometimes one or few-of-a-kind since a customer will direct changes prior to full-scale production.
Screenprinted Patch [Also Screened Patch, Silk-Screened Patch]
Screenprinting is a technique using a stencil on a silk, nylon or organdy screen. Paint is applied to the screen and penetrates areas of the screen not blocked by the stencil. Several stencils are used to achieve multiple colors.
Scroll [Also Rocker, Tab]
A ribbon, often with rolled ends, used to inscribe a motto, unit designation or other information. In patches, scrolls are often found attached to discs and shields.
Similar to merrowing in both appearance and purpose, but this edge finishing is performed with a sort of cross-stitch (very much like a button-hole stitch) rather than by using a merrowing machine, so there is no pigtail remnant and the edging lacks the look of merrowing.
Shape on which the heraldic devices, symbols, or elements of an establishment’s emblem are displayed. This shape derives from the shield displayed on the Air Force Seal, which the Department of the Air Force adopted in 1947. The Air Force requires establishments to use this type shield to display their distinctive emblems on organizational flags and emblems. Patches for uniforms using this shield shape were phased in during late 1940s and early 1950s as the US Army Air Forces shield was phased out. Source: Air Force Instruction 84-105.
Example Shield Used by Air Force Establishments
Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (SSI)
Patches intended for wear on the upper portion of the uniform sleeve, near the shoulder seam, primarily used in reference to U.S. Army patches. Term also applies to United States Army Air Forces or Air Corps insignia, such as the Army Air Forces patch and World War II Numbered Air Force patches.
The left hand side of the shield from the standpoint of the person behind it. Source: Guide to Air Force Heraldry.
Heraldic positions on a shield.
Heraldic positions on a disc.
A patch that has not only lost any original luster or sheen it may have once had, but which also has visible dirt, grime, or skin oil accumulation or contamination on its surface.
A patch that, at first glance, very closely resembles another patch, but has been slightly modified for the purpose of making fun of the original or what it represents. This modification can be to the inscription or changes to the actual design. A spoof patch differs from a doctored patch in that doctored patches are changed after production, whereas spoofs are manufactured that way.
Subdued [Also Muted, Camo or Camouflage]
Color palette that is used to convert a full color emblem or patch to a color scheme that more closely matches a uniform’s color and camouflage scheme. The full color palette is “toned down”, thus the term “subdued” is use. While “subdued” originally referred to the Woodland Subdued color palette, the addition of additional subdued palettes have necessitated further differentiation. The US Air Force uses or has used the following subduing schemes:
Full Color 1st Fighter Wing Emblem
Woodland Subdued 1st Fighter Wing Emblem
OCP Subdued 1st Fighter Wing Emblem
Full Color Air Force Space Command Patch
Woodland Subdued Air Force Space Command Patch
Desert Subdued Air Force Space Command Patch
OCP Subdued Air Force Space Command Patch
Swiss Embroidery [Also Schiffli Embroidery]
Style of embroidery involving a paper tape, punched like the roll for a player piano, that is mechanically “read” by a machine that directs hundreds of needles on a loom simultaneously. The process begins with a sketch of the patch, enlarged to six times the size of the finished product, with every other stitch actually drawn in by hand. The operator traces every indicated stitch line with a metal stylus, creating a paper template for the loom. During the sewing, a different color of thread is used on each “pass” and this, in effect, layers one color on top of another, creating a bas-relief effect, as opposed to the uniformly flat surface of a Multi-Head patch. Two or three layers is fairly common, but attempting to penetrate too many layers tends to break needles, so rarely are more than four or five observed. The perception of depth from the raised layers of color, and the effects of highlighting and shadowing that occurred naturally when light hits the patch from various angles, tends to make some of these patches with more elaborate designs true works of art. This type of patch embroidery had its genesis in Switzerland, hence the term “Swiss embroidery,” but the process was imported into the United States and was firmly established in the northern New Jersey area by the outbreak of World War II. Swiss embroidered emblems are often referred to as Schiffli patches because they are made on Schiffli looms. These looms use a shuttle that resembles the shape of a sailboat’s hull, and “Schiffli” means “little boat” in the Swiss dialect of the German language.
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