Allgemeine SS Main Office Cuff Title (2nd pattern)
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Image courtesy of Angolia, "Cloth Insignia of the SS"
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The personal staff of Heinrich Himmler and the officials of the three main Reichsführung-SS departments, along with the subsidiary departments, were issued cuff titles that identified which department the wearer served with. The number of main SS departments eventually grew from three to eight.
The staff of the SS-Main Office (SS-Hauptamt) were issued black cuff titles embroidered with “SS-Hauptamt”. The embroidery on the first pattern cuff title was done in gothic script. In September of 1939, it was determined that all SS cuff titles were to feature the runic SS, so the second pattern of this cuff title was produced with SS runes rather than the letters “SS” in a gothic script.
This cuff title was discontinued in May of 1940 when a standard cuff title for all Reichsführung-SS personnel was introduced. The new cuff title was embroidered with "Reichsführung-SS” in Latin script with runic “SS”.
These cuff titles were originally only to be worn on the left sleeve on the standard black SS uniform, but they were later also worn on the grey service uniform.
The Allgemeine SS used cuff titles produced in several different ways.
Machine-embroidered cuff titles were manufactured by machine-embroidering wording or numbers onto a strip of blank cuff title material. The embroidery was usually done in white/silver/grey thread and the thickness varies. The average length of this style of cuff title is 49cm, with the shortest being 41cm and the longest at 50cm.
These cuff titles are generally found with an RZM paper or woven label attached to the reverse, although it is not uncommon for the label to be missing. At times, a cuff title would have two labels attached as two different manufacturers were responsible for the production of the items (one firm produced the band, the other did the embroidery work).
The ‘chain-stitch’ style of machine embroidery is occasionally encountered. The name is in reference to the chain-like appearance of the embroidery.
Hand-embroidered cuff titles were produced by hand-embroidering wording/numbers onto a blank cuff title. Fine aluminium wires were generally used in the production of these cuff titles, although silver and gold thread, as well as yellow or white synthetic thread, were also used. These cuff titles are generally found with RZM paper or woven labels. This style of manufacture was popular until 1939/1940 and fell out of favour due to the cost.
Another type of cuff title is the machine-woven one, which was produced by feeding coloured threads into a machine where they are woven into a design.
Woven flatwire cuff titles were produced using aluminium, silver, white celleon, or gold/yellow celleon to create wording/numbering. The term ‘flatwire’ refers to the fact that the fine threads lay flat, unlike hand-embroidery which is raised. There are two types of flat wire weave cuff titles, form 1 and form 2.
Form 1 flat wire weave cuff titles feature a salt-and-pepper reverse and form 2 flat wire weave cuff titles feature an all black reverse with a protective cloth backing sewn over the wording. The inscription on form 2 was produced using much finer aluminium thread than form 1.
The RZM/SS paper labels feature a rating letter (example: A) in the upper left corner, an RZM symbol to the right of the rating letter, then a manufacturer’s code number, and then an SS symbol in the upper right corner. The lower left corner features a sequence letter (example: D) and to the right the sequence number of the manufactured cuff title.
RZM/SS woven labels are black in colour, feature an RZM logo on the left side, then the manufacturer's code above the last two digits of the production year, and finally, an SS symbol on the right side.
RZM/SS ‘St’ woven labels, which were attached by the firm that embroidered the cuff titles are identical to the standard woven label, except ‘St’ is added before the manufacturer's code and year or production.
The cuff titles were first produced in Gothic script but in December of 1939, cuff titles with Latin script were introduced.
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