References and Resources

Glossary of Collecting Terms

We have just started our glossary of common trading terms. The definitions are either those that are common in trading circles or official definitions as adopted by ISCA. Have you heard of a term and wonder what it meant, then e-mail it to us and we will e-mail you a response back with the common definition and/or meaning and post it on this page for the benefit of all.
 CD Computer-driven. a style of embroidery made on computer-driven looms; allowing for a much finer level of detail than Swiss-style embroidery (though admittedly, we were probably better off not being able to see the finer details of some designs!)

 CE, C/E Cut Edge Border - The manufacturer embroidered a border around the badge and trimmed the extra material away right next to the border.

Computer Stitch
(also see 
Swiss Embroidery)
Computer stitch is a machine stitch based on a computer scan. Because the computer scans in a single two dimensional flat plane, it only knows what colors lay next to each other. So if we had, say, an apple on a yellow background, the red stitching would lay next to the yellow background. When the red and the yellow were stitched in, a small blank space would be left to be filled in by the brown stitching for the stem.

 CSP Council Shoulder Patch - insignia issued by one of the several BSA Councils to identify membership to that Council, most typically defined by the geographic location the BSA member resides

 F-# Order of the Arrow pocket flap, partially embroidered, typically twill background showing. #= order of issue, i.e. F1, F2, F3. Varieties of the same issue may be designated with a letter afterwards, i.e. F2a, F2b, F2c, etc.

 Fake The production of a Scouting item, including the reproduction or copy of a previously issued Scouting item (i.e.: patch), whether identified as such or not, that is made by an individual or a group without the original authorized authority (or successor authority) to produce or issue such an item. (ISCA)

 JSP Jamboree Shoulder Patch - issued by a council to be worn by contingent members as their CSP during a National Scout Jamboree event.

 PISP Privately Issued Shoulder Patches. Shoulder patches issued by individuals or units rather than the BSA or its councils. Many direct service issues are examples of PISPs, not issued by BSA's Direct Service office.

 R/E Rolled Edge Border -  The badge was made without an embroidered edge, then fed through a machine that embroidered a rolled edge onto the badge.

 Reproduction The production or remake of a Scouting item (i.e.: patch) by an authority who has the legal authority (or successor authority) to make or issue such an item. (ISCA)

 S-# Order of the Arrow pocket flap, fully embroidered. #= order of issue, i.e. S1, S2, S3. Varieties of the same issue may be designated with a letter afterwards, i.e. S2a, S2b, S2c, etc.

 SAP Shoulder Activity Patch - i.e. Philmont Contingent, NOAC, Popcorn, FOS, etc.

 Spoof Privately issued patch or other unofficial item, designed to spoof some event, person or thing. Often created to provide stock for the issuer to be traded for official issues.

Swiss Embroidery 
(also see 
Computer Stitch)
Swiss embroidery, which goes way back before computers, is based on a paper tape, like a punched piano roll or for a Jacquard loom. A human makes a sketch of the proposed patch that is six times the size of the finished patch. Every other thread stitch is actually drawn in. That drawing is mounted on a Swiss embroidery machine and an operator goes over every indicated stitch line with a metal stylus. As he does this a paper tape is created which can mechanically direct 100-200 needles simultaneously.

The Swiss embroidery machines were good, but they were not high precision. It would be hopeless to leave a little space blank for an apple stem, and then hope to hit that exact same spot later on when the needles were threaded with brown. So the stem would be embroidered over and on top of the background. The leaves may or may not be embroidered on top of the apple. The apple may or may not be embroidered on top of the background. All that depended on the skill and the judgment call of the loom operator (and some were much better than others).

So the stitched colors on Swiss embroidered patches are layered, not flat next to each other. Two or three layers is pretty common, sometimes more in small areas of detail. The layers can't be too many, or needles start breaking when they try to sew another color on top.

Also, because the colors were raised, or "lumpy", instead of laying flat, they reflected light variously as the patch was held at different angles. That could make the colors appear to be more brilliant, depending on how they were used.

A good example of Swiss embroidery is the Tipisa #326 flap. You can feel the raised ridge of the brown outline around the shield, and the bas-relief effect of the white letters stitched onto the black background.

In the last few years, computer-driven stitching has gotten much better and there is now even some some overlay of stitches They still don't have the "heavy" feel of Swiss embroidery, nor do the colors "shimmer" as well. Often this is more than compensated for by the finer detail of computer-driven stitches than was ever possible with Swiss embroidery.

 TA-# CSP issue reference, makes note of twill background. The # would be the issue number i.e. TA-3 would be the 3rd twill background CSP made by a council.


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