Thursday, October 20, 2011


ww1 hand knitted wool vest

comparaison with a post war privately purchased one worn by officers 

doughboys receiving their wool vests overseas

When the United States entered the Great War there was a critical shortage of wool uniforms and overcoats, brought about by the rapid expansion of America’s army. Because of this army Quartermasters scoured the warehouses across the nation in search of warm suitable military clothing.Privately purchased clothing and equipment for the officers and soldiers became big business during the war and many American retailers jumped on the band wagon anxious to profit from the military men.
U.S. government reacted and asked the American people to devote their spare time to knitting wool garments such as :socks, sweaters, mufflers among many other garments for the men overseas and be a part of the war effort

In the summer of 1917 the American Red Cross went into the knitting business and launched a massive campaign on the home front. The Red Cross and other relief organizations put out an urgent request for knitted goods of all kinds . It needed a minimum of one and a half million each of knitted wristlets, mufflers, sweaters and other warm garments , but the most urgently needed item was wool socks. It began by teaching thousands of men, women and children how to knit; its supply bureau purchased one million pounds of wool and printed detailed instruction booklets and patterns that had been approved by the War Department’s Clothing and Equipage Division. The Red Cross along with other relief and charitable organizations such as the Knights of Columbus and the Jewish Welfare League organized knitters all across the nation to “Knit for Sammy”.......

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