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SS Officer "flat-wire" collar-tabs - when were they first used?

Article about: by Bob Hritz I always look at period photos to identify the minutae of insignia. It is very important to collectors, but, I am sure, of little importance to the original soldier, wearing sam

  1. #1

    Default SS Officer "flat-wire" collar-tabs - when were they first used?

    I have seen this type of tab described as "late-war" and "flat-wire" many times . . . do we have any evidence of when they were first seen in use? Does any photographic evidence exist that proves only late-war use? In what year were these first produced?

    I have searched multiple sources, and have not found very much in the form of previous discussion . . .

    Thanks in advance for any reply, and for any assistance . . .
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  3. #2

    Default Re: SS Officer "flat-wire" collar-tabs - when were they first used?

    This fact may or may not bear on things, but the woven wire cuff titles can indeed have 1937 VA contract tag and appear in the 1938 price lists. Surely there were later variants, but such early ones exist in the leading collections. Such woven insignia were significantly less expensive than their hand embroidered variants. I am not an expert in SS collar insignia by any means, but it strikes me as plausible that, were the cuff titles economized and rationalized, other insignia may well have been too prior to "late war," whatever that means in specific historical terms.

    The periodization used by collector group think is often flat out wrong, i.e. a non leather sweat band is "late war," when in fact such sweatbands were used in caps frequently ca. 1914 or 1915.

    The list is quite long of mistake assumptions and anachronisms of collector group think.

    Thrift, economy and rationalization were major forces throughout the early 20th century in Germany, in the period from 1914 until 1945.
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    damit, basta.

  4. #3
    ?

    Default Re: SS Officer "flat-wire" collar-tabs - when were they first used?

    Quote by N.C. Wyeth View Post
    I have seen this type of tab described as "late-war" and "flat-wire" many times . . . do we have any evidence of when they were first seen in use? Does any photographic evidence exist that proves only late-war use? In what year were these first produced?

    I have searched multiple sources, and have not found very much in the form of previous discussion . . .

    Thanks in advance for any reply, and for any assistance . . .
    I don't think I've seen that type referred to as "flatwire" before.

    I've seen them referred to as "late war" but "machine woven". I can't recall seeing any period photos of them being worn though.

    Here is what is regarded as a "flatwire" runes collar tab - similar in style to flatwire sleeve eagles, flatwire cuff titles, flatwire cap skulls and flatwire cap eagles:


  5. #4

    Default Re: SS Officer "flat-wire" collar-tabs - when were they first used?

    an extract from the Kleiderkasse catalog, ca. end of 1940.

    Notice price difference for embroidered versus woven insignia, for what little it is worth. "gestickt" vs "glaenzend gewebt."

    The translations in the 1970 rendering of the 1938 Allgemeine SS price list of the VA SS are by no means perfect.
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    damit, basta.

  6. #5

    Default Re: SS Officer "flat-wire" collar-tabs - when were they first used?

    The way to determine this question is to find the original Proben, i.e. the master patterns distributed by the VA SS and or RZM to contractors with the dates of same. Or, of course, in circulars and regulations. Robert H also has some nice price lists which he can share here. The Seidel Dittmarsch cuff title is an example, also, of a wire woven (glaenzend gewebt) cuff title of something other than "late war..." By the way, what is the date of "late war?" Do historians agree on such a date? In fact, the mobilization of the German economy for war began with the Four Year Plan in 1936, a date generally described by some collectors as....."early." But, in fact, the rationalization and substitution of Werkstoffe and manufacturing processes in the interest of autarky and reduced consumption of imported materials began easily three years before the outbreak of war.
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    damit, basta.

  7. #6

    Default Re: SS Officer "flat-wire" collar-tabs - when were they first used?

    I own several years of this periodical in which the transformation of the textile industry on a war footing has pride of place. The articles concerning all aspects of economy in Nazi Germany were concerned about mobilization steps that a.) withdrew Germany from the Ango-American dominated system of world trade and b.) rationalized, economized, and substituted Werkstoffe from indigenous sources in favor of a state directed capitalism on a war footing for high technology. The textiles branch formed a major aspect of this effort.

    Happy reading.

    PS There is no SS cap badge in this picture.
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    damit, basta.

  8. #7

    Default Re: SS Officer "flat-wire" collar-tabs - when were they first used?

    Declaration of 4 year plan in government circular, i.e. October 1936.
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    damit, basta.

  9. #8

    Default Re: SS Officer "flat-wire" collar-tabs - when were they first used?

    I think there is a bit of confusion here. The tabs at the top of this thread are embroidered. However, they are machine-embroidered, not hand-embroidered, as bullion tabs were. They are made of wire, but are not what are referred to as "flatwire." Flatwire tabs are like the one Tony posted. That tab (and ones similar to them made using regular thread) are machine-woven.

  10. #9

    Default Re: SS Officer "flat-wire" collar-tabs - when were they first used?

    O.K. . . . so now we have established that the first grouping of tabs being shown should be referred to as being "machine-embroidered in wire" - not to be confused with the "flatwire" production techniques.

    So when did this "machine-embroidered in wire" specimen of tab first come into production? Is there any documentation out there that helps establish production dates . . . maybe a dated Price List that refers to "machine-embroidered SS Officer tabs"? How about any photographic reference?

    Thanks to all for your assistance, and I do appreciate the "flatwire" clarification . . . when the images are posted side-by-side, a difference in technique can clearly be recognized. My trouble rests with the "machine-embroidered" technique . . . and establishing an accurate production timeline for such . . . I too do not recall seeing any period photographs of such a collar insignia being utilized - hopefully something additionally helpful to the question(s) can be found?

  11. #10

    Default Re: SS Officer "flat-wire" collar-tabs - when were they first used?

    The most difficult problem, for me, is to identify the collar tabs in period photos. I have seen original machine embroidered runic collar tabs that were worn and used, but have never owned a tunic with these collar tabs.

    Because garments were worn until they needed replacement, I suspect it was normal to upgrade insignia as needed and as promoted. From personal experience, wearing a uniform, my insignia was changed as it became worn or the colors faded. It was not in the budget to buy new uniforms every year and several coats and jackets served me for over 20 years.

    I always look at period photos to identify the minutae of insignia. It is very important to collectors, but, I am sure, of little importance to the original soldier, wearing same.

    I know of many police officers who could not tell you the maker of their badge, which they wore for over a quarter of a century. It is only to those who study such things any matter of thought.

    Bob Hritz

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