Square knot insignia

Square knot insignia

Square knot insignia are embroidered cloth patches that represent awards of the Boy Scouts of America and Scout associations throughout the world. The insignia depicts a square knot made of colored ropes; the colors are generally dictated by the award the insignia is associated with.


In the earliest days of the Boy Scouts of America, military veterans were urged into service as scoutmasters. The first scout uniforms therefore resembled military uniforms. It was common for these veterans to wear their military decorations on their modified Boy Scout uniform — a national uniform was not to be developed until the early 1920sFact|date=June 2008

Military tradition dictated that the actual medal from a military award was only worn on ceremonial occasions — at other times, it was replaced with a thin ribbon bar with the same ribbon style as found attached to the medal. This carried over to scouting, whose awards were medals, similar to the military, but were most often worn as ribbons. These ribbons differed from the military style in that, instead of being the same as the ribbon for the medal, they were instead all the same - khaki coloured, with a woven square knot in the centre. The colour of this knot was dictated by the ribbon for the medal. The choice of the square knot as the common emblem was made by James West, who is said to have chosen it for its use as the knot associated with first aid, thereby reminding scouts to continue to be of service to others. fact|date=June 2008

Initial introduction

Initially, eight new ribbons were introduced and later a ninth, which represented the various national awards available at that time:
*Silver Beaver Award
*Eagle Scout Award
*Scouters' Key Award
*Scouters' Training Award
*Quartermaster Award
*Silver Buffalo Award
*Honor Medal
*Merit Medal
*Silver Antelope Award

Further developments

Between the introduction of square knot insignia and today, over 40 new awards have been added. In addition, there are a number of unofficial awards using the insignia, and various other awards that use similar insignia but with different knots depicted.

Insignia of the Boy Scouts of America

Wearing insignia

Knots are worn in rows of three across the top of the wearer's left pocket.When less than 3 knots are worn in a particular row, knots are generally centered to the pocket, or the row below them.

Insignia available to youth

Insignia available to adults

External links

* [http://www.usscouts.org/ U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.]
* [http://www.mninter.net/~blkeagle/knoindex.htm Square knots and How to Wear them]

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