Issued equipment

US Army Blankets in World War One

US Army Blankets of the First World War By Vincent Petty

The topic of US army blankets during the period of the First World War can be a difficult one at best.  There is very little secondary source material, which accurately describes US army bedding blankets of the period and the information presented by collectors and dealers can be rather misleading or inaccurate.  Probably the greatest flaw in the collecting world is having dubbed WW1 era army bedding blankets as either M1904 or M1917 of which no system of model designation existed for blankets.  The goal of this short article is to provide a guide to anyone who wants a more accurate understanding of army bedding blankets or as a guide to anyone who wishes to accurately identify mislabeled or misidentified blankets sold by collectors or militaria dealers.

Through the Office of the Quartermaster General, the army issued specifications for blankets that contractors were expected to meet in their production runs.  Instead of a model nomenclature, it would be most appropriate to identify blankets based on the specifications issued by the Quartermaster General.  The specifications defined or regulated the quality of the materials to be used in the blanket, the color of the blanket body, whether there was to be a border and its color, the colorfastness of the materials used, the number of threads in an inch of weave, the type of weave in the blanket, the strength, size, weight, and whether it was to have a “US” brand in the center of the blanket.  The earliest specifications for WW1 era blankets provided for a high-quality product and as the war approached and progressed shortcuts were permitted during the production of army blankets.

The first specification issued in the 20th century was No. 752 on April 20, 1905.  It canceled No. 128 of January 9, 1885, which had provided for a light blue blanket with a blue end stripe (in the specifications the end stripe is referred to as the border).  Specification 752, was followed by (and canceled four months later by) No. 771 of August 25, 1905; No. 807 of April 23, 1906; No. 827 of August 16, 1906; No. 1107 of March 4, 1911; No. 1178 of April 10, 1913; No. 1204 of March 11, 1914; No. 1244 of August 21, 1916; No. 1255 of October 16, 1917.  Specification No. 1312 of March 20, 1918, was the last blanket specification issued during the war and would not be canceled until a new specification was issued on November 10, 1921 (unfortunately for this article we are unable to present No’s 827, 1178 and 1244 which are missing).

When issued in April 1905, Specification No. 752 provided for the first olive drab blanket, replacing the use of gray through much of the 19th century and light blue at its close.  The important features the blankets made under No. 752 were as follows:
1) Olive drab in color.  
2) An olive-brown border 3 inches wide across the width of the blanket 6 inches from the edge.
3) The blanket was to be 7 feet long by 5 feet 6 inches wide.
4) To weigh not less than 5 pounds.
5) A “US” brand stitched in the center of the blanket, 6 inches tall, worked either by hand or machine, in the same color and quality of wool as the border.

 

On August 25, 1905 specification No. 771 was issued, which canceled No. 752.  The new specification retained all of the same features of the previous, except for a change in the brand.  The specification 771 provided a blanket with the following features: 
1) Olive drab in color.  
2) An olive-brown border 3 inches wide across the width of the blanket 6 inches from the edge.
3) The blanket was to be 7 feet long by 5 feet 6 inches wide.
4) To weigh not less than 5 pounds.
5) A “US” brand in the center of the blanket, 4-inches tall to be stenciled, in the same color as that of the border.

Specification No. 807 of April 26, 1906, continued many of the features defined in the previous specifications.  It included a return to a sewn brand rather than the stenciled brand of specification No. 771.  It also provided for a label to provide contract information.  No. 807 provided for the following features:
1) Olive drab in color
2) An olive-brown border 3 inches wide across the width of the blanket and 8 inches from the edge.
3) The blanket to be 7 feet, but not more than 7’3” long and 5 feet, but not more than 5’9” wide.
4) To weigh not less than 5 pounds
5) The “US” brand stitched in the center of the blanket, 5 ¾ inch to 6 ¼ inch, worked either by hand or machine, in the same color and quality of wool as the border.
6) A cloth label was to be stitched in a corner, with the name of the contractor, contract date, the depot, and a blank for the inspector.

With specification No. 1107 of March 4, 1911, nearly all of the previous features were retained, except for a reduction in the weight of the blanket to about 3 pounds, down from 5 pounds.  The features of No. 1107 were as follows:
1) Olive drab in color
2) An olive-brown border 3 inches wide across the width of the blanket and 8 inches from the edge.
3) The blanket to be 7 feet, but not more than 7’3” long and 5 feet, but not more than 5’9” wide.
4) To weigh not less than 2 pounds 14 ounces and not more than 3 pounds 3 ounces
5) The “US” brand stitched in the center of the blanket, 5 ¾ inch to 6 ¼ inch, worked either by hand or machine, in the same color and quality of wool as the border.
6) A cloth label was to be stitched in a corner, with the name of the contractor, contract date, the depot, and a blank for the inspector.

With specification No. 1204 of March 11, 1914, all the features of color, border, size, and weight were retained along with the label sewn in the corner of the blanket.  However, with this specification, the “US” brand was dropped.  One notable aspect with this specification was that card and thread waste was permitted to be used in the blanket for the first time since the issuance of specifications for the olive drab blanket.  The features of No. 1204 were as follows:
1) Olive drab in color
2) An olive-brown border 3 inches wide across the width of the blanket and 8 inches from the edge.
3) The blanket to be 7 feet, but not more than 7’3” long and 5 feet, but not more than 5’9” wide.
4) To weigh not less than 2 pounds 14 ounces and not more than 3 pounds 3 ounces
5) NO “US” 
6) A cloth label was to be stitched in a corner, with the name of the contractor, contract date, the depot, and a blank for the inspector

Specification No. 1255 of October 16, 1917, was the first wartime specification issued.  The blanket continued to be olive drab in color, however, the olive-brown border was dropped and there was also to be no “US” brand.  The quality of the material used in the blanket dropped as the specification permitted the use of wool substitute and shoddy in the blanket, though not to exceed 35%.  The weight of the blanket was slightly increased 3 pounds 4 ounces.  But, retained the same size.  The features were:
1) Olive drab in color.
2) To weigh 3 pounds but not more than 3 pounds 4 ounces.
3) To be 7 feet, but not more than 7’3” long and 5 feet, but not more than 5’3”.
4) NO border.
5) NO “US” Brand.
6) A cloth label was to be stitched in a corner, with the name of the contractor, contract date, the depot, and a blank for the inspector
7) Up to 35% of wool substitute and shoddy allowed in the blanket.

The final wartime specification – 1312 of March 20, 1918 – continued to allow a wool substitute, shoddy, or reworked wool, not to exceed 35% and broken fibers from the carding not to exceed 10%.  The olive drab color remained the same, and the lack of a border continued as well.  The size remained the same as with all previous specifications with an increase in the weight of the blanket.  The “US” brand was also returned to the blanket, however, the size of the brand was not stated, only that the government would provide the stamp and formula. 
1) Olive drab in color.
2) To weigh 4 pounds
3) To be 7 feet, but not more than 7’3” long and 5 feet, but not more than 5’3”.
4) NO border.
5) “US” Brand of unknown size stamped with a stamp and formula provided by the government.
6) A cloth label was to be stitched in a corner, with the name of the contractor, contract date, the depot, and a blank for the inspector
7) Up to 35% of wool substitute and shoddy allowed in the blanket along with another 10% of other threads.

At the start of this article, I referred to the use in the collecting and militaria world of a model designation when referring to bedding blankets – M1904 and M1917.  These are inaccurate references, which were created and have continued in use, either because of laziness or a lack of understanding.  Regardless, it is important to also understand what the dealer is implying when he sells a blanket tagged as either an M1904 or M1917.  To many dealers, the olive drab blanket with olive-brown border and with or without the “US” (basically the blankets defined in the specifications from 1905 to 1914) is an M1904 blanket.  Many will make the claim also that these blankets with the “US” brand are “pre-war M1904 blankets” and that those without the brand are “war-time M1904 blankets.”  Further, blankets without the border and brand have become the M1917.  However, as shown there is no basis in fact for referring to bedding blankets in this manner.

When I first became interested in the First World War I bought a number of blankets that were simply listed as being “WW1 era M1904 blankets” or “M1917” because I was taken in by the jargon of militaria dealers.  However, I am a believer in the primary source material and because of proper documentation, I have been able to correctly identify the four blankets that I use with my American infantry kit.  One of them is a blanket following the specifications of No. 752 of April 20, 1905.  Two of the blankets follow the specifications of No. 1204 of March 11, 1914. The last blanket meets the specifications of No. 1255 of October 16, 1917.

For anyone purchasing a blanket today, there are a couple things to keep in mind.  After 100 years there will be a few noticeable changes in the blanket that will cause it to differ from the original specifications.  The most notable and important is shrinkage.  The width of the blanket will have remained fairly consistent over the years, but considerable shrinkage will appear in the length of the blanket, being made up of the warp yarns (the yarns stretched and carried over the loom and through which the weft or fill is woven).  The shrinkage can be several inches, causing what was manufactured as a blanket 7 feet long, to be 90 years later, a blanket 6 feet 8 inches long.  Also, on many blankets, it will be found that labels do not survive or can no longer be read.  I have found on many blankets that while the label is no longer intact, the stitching which at one time attached the label to the blanket, remained intact.

In addition to bedding blankets, horse blankets are fairly common as well on the collector market.  The Ordnance Department was responsible for tack and mounted equipment (meaning the Ordnance Department was responsible for horse blankets while the Quartermaster department was responsible for bedding blankets) and prior to the war the horse blanket had both the “US” brand and the Ordnance Department’s “flaming bomb” embroidered in the center of the blanket.  The “US” brand and flaming bomb were dropped from wartime production of horse blankets, and if the label is missing from these blankets, they may be mistaken for bedding blankets.  A large number of horse blankets have appeared on the market both with and without the “US” and flaming bomb, which were sold off by a number of New England National Guard organizations dumping surplus equipment.  Also according to curator Steve McGeorge, “review of catalogs from military clothiers and suppliers of the period selling officer uniform and equipment include blankets alleged to be made to government specification. In the case of these and later commercially manufactured ‘Camp Blankets’ it may very well be impossible to distinguish these from Government Issue blankets if there is no legible tag present, especially after some 80+ years of wear and tear.”

I have found that the best source for blankets is E-bay.  WW1 US army blankets regularly appear for sale on the website and tend to sell at a much more reasonable price than what most collectors and dealers offer, though, everyone has their own favorite local dealers, who are valuable sources.  A purchaser should pay no more than $100 for an original blanket, but on E-bay original bedding blankets generally, sell in the range of $20-$80.  When considering a particular blanket, ask the right questions to help identify the blanket – especially when the blanket is simply listed as a “World War One Blanket.”  Is the blanket body olive drab?  Does the blanket have a border, and if it does, is it olive brown?  Is the border 6 inches or 8 inches from the edge of the blanket?  Is there a “US” brand in the center of the blanket? Is it sewn, stenciled or stamped and what is its height?  What is the weight of the blanket and what is its size? Is there a label or the remains of one?  These questions will help properly identify a blanket as being a US army bedding blanket.

With knowledge of the blanket specifications issued between 1905 and 1918, any living historian or collector for that matter can make an educated purchase of a First World War era US army bedding blanket or even use these specifications to identify a blanket in their collection.  We have also hopefully put to rest the shortcuts of the collecting world when referring to bedding blankets.  I would like to thank Stephen C.  McGeorge, Curator, National Museum of the United States Army who provided me with the specifications for WW1 era army bedding blankets and provided some guidance with this article.  And for those folks who too like to read primary source material rather than just my summary, the text of specifications No.’s 752, 771, 807, 1107, 1204, 1255 and 1312 follow.

752
 War Department,
Office of the Quartermaster General.

Specifications for the olive drab blankets, heavy quality.

Wool. – For warp: To be pure long sound staple American wool of not lower grade than high three-eighths blood.  For filling: To be pure long sound staple American wool of not lower grade than high one-half blood: both to be free from kemp, shives, card-waste, noils, shoddy, flocks, reworked wool or other impurities.

Color. – To be composed of black, white, and olive drab wools, mixed in such proportions as to produce the shade of the standard sample.  The olive drab and black to be dyed in the wool; colors to be fast and to withstand without change the official tests, viz: Boiling for ten minutes in a solution composed of eighty grains or ordinary laundry soap to one pint of water: boiling for ten minutes in a solution containing ten grains of dry carbonate of soda to one pint of water; an exposure to the weather (roof test) for thirty days; steeping for 24 hours in lactic acid specific gravity 1.21, U. S. P.; steeping twenty-four hours in a solution composed of three drams of citric acid to two fluid ounces of cold water.  To correctly judge results, the specimens that have been subjected to the above acid and weather tests must be washed with soap in warm water.

Border. – An olive-brown border about three (3) inches wide to extend across the blanket about six (6) inches from each end; the wool in the border to be of the same grade as the body of the blanket; to conform in shade to the border of the standard sample, and to withstand the above official tests for permanency of color.

Threads. – To have not less than twenty-two threads of warp and not less than twenty-five threads of filling to the inch.  The threads to be well driven up.

Strength. – To sustain a tensile strain of not less than thirty pounds to the inch of warp, and not less than thirty-five pounds to the inch of filling.

Size. – To be seven (7) feet long and five (5) feet six (6) inches wide when finished.

Weight. – To weigh not less than five pounds when finished.

U. S. Brand. – Each blanket to have the letters “U. S.” about six inches long in the center of and placed lengthwise with the blanket; the lettering to be worked through the blanket, either by hand or machine, using yarn composed of the same material, shade and permanency of dye as that of the border.  The style of letters to be the same as those upon the standard sample
Workmanship. – The blanket to be manufactured in a thorough and workmanlike manner, twilled blanket weave, well fulled, thoroughly cleaned, free from crocking, evenly and thoroughly gigged.  The ends to be secured from raveling by a gimp and an elastic overlocked stitch, as shown upon the standard sample.  The gimp and thread employed to conform closely in shade to either the border or to the body of the blanket.

Details of workmanship or any other points not enumerated in these specifications to be executed in conformity with the standards sample.

Adopted April 20, 1905, in lieu of specifications of January 9, 1885 (No. 128), which are hereby canceled.

C. F. Humphrey,
Quartermaster General, U. S. Army

771 
War Department,
Office of the Quartermaster General.

Specifications for the olive drab blankets, heavy quality.

Wool. – For warp: To be pure long sound staple American wool of not lower grade than high three-eighths blood.  For filling: To be pure long sound staple American wool of not lower grade than high one-half blood: both to be free from kemp, shives, card-waste, noils, shoddy, flocks, reworked wool or other impurities.

Color. – To be composed of black, white, and olive drab wools, mixed in such proportions as to produce the shade of the standard sample.  The olive drab and black to be dyed in the wool; colors to be fast and to withstand without change the official tests, viz: Boiling for ten minutes in a solution composed of eighty grains or ordinary laundry soap to one pint of water: boiling for ten minutes in a solution containing ten grains of dry carbonate of soda to one pint of water; an exposure to the weather (roof test) for thirty days; steeping for 24 hours in lactic acid specific gravity 1.21, U. S. P.; steeping twenty-four hours in a solution composed of three drams of citric acid to two fluid ounces of cold water.  To correctly judge results, the specimens that have been subjected to the above acid and weather tests must be washed with soap in warm water.

Border. – An olive-brown border about three (3) inches wide to extend across the blanket about six (6) inches from each end; the wool in the border to be of the same grade as the body of the blanket; to conform in shade to the border of the standard sample, and to withstand the above official tests for permanency of color.

Threads. – To have not less than twenty-two threads of warp and not less than twenty-five threads of filling to the inch.  The threads to be well driven up.

Strength. – To sustain a tensile strain of not less than thirty pounds to the inch of warp, and not less than thirty-five pounds to the inch of filling.

Size. – To be seven (7) feet long and five (5) feet six (6) inches wide when finished.

Weight. – To weigh not less than five pounds when finished.

U. S. Brand. – Each blanket to have the letters “U. S.” about four (4) inches long stenciled in the center of and placed lengthwise with the blanket; shade and permanency of color of letters to conform strictly to that of the border.

Workmanship. – The blanket to be manufactured in a thorough and workmanlike manner, twilled blanket weave, well fulled, thoroughly cleaned, free from crocking, evenly and thoroughly gigged.  The ends to be secured from raveling by a gimp and an elastic overlocked stitch, as shown upon the standard sample.  The gimp and thread employed to conform closely in shade to either the border or to the body of the blanket.

Details of workmanship or any other points not enumerated in these specifications to be executed in conformity with the standards sample.

Adopted August 21, 1905, in lieu of specifications of April 20, 1905 (No. 752), which are hereby canceled.

C. F. Humphrey,
Quartermaster General, U. S. Army

807
 War Department,
Office of the Quartermaster General.

Specifications for the olive drab woolen blankets, heavy quality.

Wool. – For warp: To be American wool, shorn from live sheep, of not lower grade than high three-eighths blood; staple to be of good character, sound true, and well conditioned, possessing sufficient length in addition to the other qualities to produce a good, strong, and even-spun yarn.  For filling: To be pure long-staple American wool, shorn from live sheep, of not lower grade than high one-half blood: staple to be of good character, sound true, and well conditioned.  Both warp and filling wools to possess good felting properties, and to be free from kemp, shives, wastes, noils, shoddy, flocks, reworked wool, vegetable fibers, or other impurities (slubbing from the card and broken spool stock from the mule made at the time this yarn is being manufactured not to be considered as waste).

Color.– To be a mixture of an olive drab shade, as represented by the sealed standard sample, the various colors required to produce the mixture to be dyed in the wool and thoroughly cleaned before mixing.  They must be sufficiently fast to withstand milling and climatic influences, such as sunlight, air, and exposure incident to the military service.

Border. – An olive-brown border about three (3) inches wide to extend across the blanket about eight (8) inches from each end; the wool in the border to be of the same grade as the body of the blanket; to conform in shade to the border of the standard sample, and to withstand the official tests for permanency of color.

Threads. – The warp to contain not less than 1,460 threads; the picks of filling to be not less than 25 to the inch.
Size. – To be not less than seven (7) feet nor more than seven (7) feet three (3) inches long.  To be not less than five (5) feet nor more than five (5) feet nine (9) inches wide finished.

Weight. – To weigh not less than five pounds.  Blankets weighing less than five pounds shall be rejected, unless when subjected to a conditioned or dry-fiber test the weight thus found, with 11 percent added (for normal regain of moisture allowable), will bring the weight up to or over five pounds.  At the discretion of the contracting officer, blankets weighing five pounds or over may be conditioned, and if found, when weight becomes constant in the conditioning oven, to weigh less than 4 5/10 pounds, they shall be rejected.

Strength. – To be capable of sustaining a tensile strain without breaking of 35 pounds to the inch warp ways and 40 pounds without breaking to the inch filling ways.  To ensure an even strain on all threads great care must be exercised to be sure that the material is placed in the jaws of the dynamometer at the exactly right angles to the opposite system of threads.

U. S. Brand. – Each blanket to have the letters “U. S.” not less than five and three-quarters (5 ¾) nor more than six and one-quarter (6 ¼) inches long in the center of and placed lengthwise with the blanket; the lettering to be worked through the blanket either by hand or machine, using a yarn composed of the same material, shade, and permanency of dye as that of the border, the style of letters to be the same as those upon the sealed standard sample.

Official color tests.  The following are the official tests which the materials shall be subjected to during inspection:

  • Test 1. Samples or skeins of the yarn, warp, and filling from which the blankets are made (about 20 yards of each yarn) shall be thoroughly scoured, then boiled for ten minutes in a solution composed of eighty grains of ivory soap to one pint of water.
  • Test 2. A second sample shall be taken and boiled ten minutes in a solution containing ten grains of dry carbonate of soda to one pint of water.\Test 3. An exposure to weather (roof test) for thirty days.
  • Test 4. Soaking twenty-four hours in lactic acid, specific gravity 1.21 U. S. P.  Temperature about 70 degrees F.
  • Test 5. Soaking twenty-four hours in a solution composed of three drams (avoirdupois) of citric acid to two fluid ounces of water.  Temperature about 70 degrees F.  To correctly judge results, the specimens that have been subjected to the above tests must be washed in a weak solution of ivory soap and tepid warm water, and no greater changes of color must appear that would be shown under similar tests made on the sealed standard sample.

Workmanship. – The blanket to be manufactured in a thorough and workmanlike manner, well fulled, thoroughly cleaned, free from crocking, evenly and thoroughly gigged.  The ends to be secured from raveling by a gimp and an elastic overlocked stitch, as shown upon the sealed standard sample.  The gimp and thread employed to conform closely in shade to either the border or to the body of the blanket.  Details of workmanship or any other points not enumerated in these specifications to be executed in conformity with the sealed standards sample.

Adopted April 23, 1906, in lieu of specifications of August 25, 1905 (No. 771), which are hereby canceled.

C. F. Humphrey,
Quartermaster General, U. S. Army

NOTE. – A sample of undyed clean wool, also samples of wools after mixing to produce shade, as well as a skein of yarn, warp, and filling shall be delivered to the contracting officer with the first delivery of good and at other regular periods during the life of the contact, as desired.

In one corner of each blanket there should be neatly stitched, with not less than eleven stitches to the inch, a piece of standard label cloth 2 ½ inches by 1 ½ inches on which shall be printed, in indelible ink the name of the contractor, date of contract, and name of depot, leaving a blank space at the bottom for the name of the inspector.

1107 War Department,
Office of the Quartermaster General.

Specifications for the olive drab woolen blankets.

Wool. – To be American fleece wool shorn from live sheep, of not lower grade than strictly three-eighths blood; staple to be of good character, sound true, and well conditioned, possessing sufficient length in addition to the other qualities to produce a good, strong, and even-spun yarn also to have good felting properties and to be free from kemp, shives, wastes, noils, shoddy, flocks, reworked wool, vegetable fibers, or other impurities (slubbing from the card and broken spool stock from the mule made at the time this yarn is being manufactured not to be considered as waste).

Color.– To be a mixture of an olive drab mixture to conform to the standard sample.  The various colors to be dyed in the wool and sufficiently fast to withstand sunlight and exposure incident to the military service.

Border. – An olive-brown border, about three (3) inches wide to extend across the blanket about eight (8) inches from each end; the wool in the border to be of the same grade as the body of the blanket and of fast color.

Threads. – The warp to contain not less than 36 threads to the inch; the filling to contain not less than 40 threads to the inch.
Weave. – To be a regular four-harness twill, two up and two down (2/2).

Size. – To be not less than seven (7) feet nor more than seven (7) feet three (3) inches long.  To be not less than five (5) feet nor more than five (5) feet nine (9) inches wide finished.

Weight. – To weigh not less than two pounds fourteen ounces and not more than three pounds three ounces.  Blankets weighing less than two pounds fourteen ounces shall be rejected, unless when subjected to a conditioned or dry-fiber test the weight thus found, with 11 percent added (for normal regain of moisture allowable), will being the weight up to or over two pounds fourteen ounces.  At the discretion of the contracting officer, blankets weighing up to or over two pounds fourteen ounces may be conditioned, and if found, when weight becomes constant in the conditioning oven, to weigh less than two pounds nine ounces or more than two pounds thirteen ounces, they shall be rejected.

Strength. – To be capable of sustaining a tensile strength of not less than 35 pounds to the inch in both warp and filling.
U. S. brand. – Each blanket to have the letters “U. S.” not less than five and three-quarters (5 ¾) nor more than six and one-quarter (6 ¼) inches long in the center of and placed lengthwise with the blanket, of a yarn the same shade as that of the border.

Tests. – The following are the official tests which will be applied during the inspection; no greater departure should take place than shown by similar tests made on the standard sample at the same time.

  • 1. To be boiled in a solution composed of 80 grains of Ivory soap to one pint of water.
  • 2. To be boiled in a solution composed of 10 grains of dry carbonate of soda to one pint of water.
  • 3. To stand exposure or roof test for thirty days.

Workmanship. – The blanket to be manufactured in a thorough and workmanlike manner, well fulled, thoroughly cleaned, free from shives and crocking, and evenly and thoroughly gigged.  The ends to be secured from raveling by a gimp and an elastic overlocked stitch; the gimp and thread employed to conform closely in shade to either the border or to the body of the blanket.
In all points not covered by these specifications to be like and equal to the standard sample in all respects.

Adopted March 4, 1911, in lieu of specifications No 807, of April 23, 1906, and No 827, of August 16, 1906, which are hereby canceled.

J. B. Aleshire,
Quartermaster General, U. S. Army.

NOTE. – A sample of undyed clean wool, also samples of wools after mixing to produce shade, as well as a skein of yarn, warp, and filling shall be delivered to the contracting officer with the first delivery of good and at other regular periods during the life of the contact, as desired.

In one corner of each blanket there should be neatly stitched, with not less than eleven stitches to the inch, a piece of standard label cloth 2 ½ inches by 1 ½ inches on which shall be printed, in indelible ink the name of the contractor, date of contract, and name of depot, leaving a blank space at the bottom for the name of the inspector.

1204 Specifications for Blankets

Adopted March 11, 1914, in lieu of specifications of April 10, 1913 No 1178, which are canceled.

Wool. – To be of three-eighths blood grade.  Fleece, scoured, or pulled wool is permitted.  To be free from shoddy, flocks, noils, or other impurities.  Clean roving, card, and thread waste made from the olive drab mixture for this blanket are permitted.
Color. – To be an olive drab mixture as shown by the sealed standard sample.  The various colors required to form this mixture to be dyed in the wool.

Tests. – The following are the tests which will be applied in the inspections:

  • 1. Washing test: Boil for 10 minutes in a solution containing 80 grains of Oleine soap (Army issue) to 1 pint of water.
  • 2. Laundry test: Boil for 10 minutes in a solution containing 10 grains of dry carbonate of soda to 1 pint of water.
  • 3. Exposure test: Expose to the weather for 30 days.
    In any of these tests, no greater change must take place that would be shown under a similar test made at the same time on the sealed standard sample.
  • Size. – To be not less than seven (7) feet nor more than seven (7) feet three (3) inches long.  To be not less than five (5) feet nor more than five (5) feet nine (9) inches wide.

Weight. – To weigh not less than two pounds fourteen ounces and not more than three pounds three ounces.  Blankets weighing less than two pounds fourteen ounces shall be rejected, unless when subjected to a conditioned or dry-fiber test the weight thus found, with 11 percent added (for normal regain of moisture allowable), will being the weight up to or over two pounds fourteen ounces.

Weave. – To be a four harness twill, two up and two down.

Threads. – To have not less than 36 threads to the inch in the warp and not less than 38 threads to the inch in the filling.
Strength. – To sustain a tensile strength of not less than 35 pounds to the inch in the warp and not less than 30 pounds to the inch in the filling.

Border. – To have an olive-brown border, about 3 inches wide, to extend across the blanket about 8 inches from each end; the wool in the border to be the same grade as the body of the blanket and of fast color.

Finish. – To have the same degree and character of finish as shown by the standard sample, thoroughly clean, free from crocking, well fulled, and evenly and thoroughly gigged.  The ends to be secured from raveling by gimp and an elastic overlock stitch; the gimp and thread employed to conform closely in shade to either the border or blanket.

In all points not covered by these specifications to be like and equal to the standard sample in all respects.

J. B. Aleshire,
Chief, Quartermaster Corps.

1255 Specifications for Blankets

Adopted October 16, 1917, in lieu of Specifications 1244, dated August 21, 1916, which are canceled.

Wool. – Wool to be of one-quarter blood grade or finer.  Fleece, scoured, or pulled wool is permitted.  The mixture of wool substitutes such as noils, shoddy, and reworked wools not to exceed 35 percent is permitted.  Broken sliver from the card and mules made from the mixture for this fabric is not to be considered as waste and is permitted.  All materials used to be free from shives and burrs.  Maximum allowable percentage of vegetable fiber on boil-out is 2 ½ percent.

Color. – To be an olive drab mixture as shown by the sealed standard sample for shade.  The various colors required to form this mixture to be dyed in the raw stock.

Tests. – The following are the tests which will be applied in the inspections:

  • 1. Washing test: Boil for 10 minutes in a solution containing 80 grains of Oleine soap (Army issue) to 1 pint of water.
  • 2. Laundry test: Boil for 10 minutes in a solution containing 10 grains of dry carbonate of soda to 1 pint of water.
  • 3. Exposure test: Expose to the weather for 30 days.
  • In any of these tests, no greater change must take place that would be shown under a similar test made at the same time on the sealed standard sample.

Size. – To be not less than seven (7) feet nor more than seven (7) feet three (3) inches long.  To be not less than five (5) feet nor more than five (5) feet nine (9) inches wide.

Weight. – To weigh not less than three pounds and not more than three pounds four ounces.  Blankets weighing less than three pounds shall be rejected, unless when subjected to a conditioned or dry-fiber test the weight thus found, with 11 percent added (for normal regain of moisture allowable), will being the weight up to or over three pounds.

Weave. – To be a four harness twill, two up and two down.

Threads. – To have not less than 36 threads to the inch in the warp and not less than 38 threads to the inch in the filling in the finished blanket.

Strength. – To sustain a tensile strength of not less than 45 pounds to the inch in the warp, and not less than 40 pounds to the inch in the filling.

Finish. – To have the same degree and character of finish as shown by the standard sample, thoroughly clean, free from crocking, well fulled, and evenly and thoroughly gigged.  The ends to be secured from raveling by gimp and an elastic overlock stitch; the gimp and thread employed to conform closely in shade to the blanket.

In all points not covered by these specifications to be like and equal to the standard sample in all respects.

A. L. Smith
Brigadier General, Q. M. Corps.

NOTE. – A sample of the finished blanket showing the ability of the manufacturer to make the goods, together with the proportions of raw material and samples of each used in its manufacture are to be submitted with bids.

In one corner of each blanket, there should be neatly stitched a piece of label cloth on which shall be printed the name of the contractor, date of contract, and the name of the depot, together with the specification number, leaving a blank space at the bottom for the name of the inspector.

No 1312 
Specifications for Four-Pound Olive Drab Blanket.

Adopted March 20, 1918, in lieu of Specifications No 1255, which are canceled.

Material. – 55% wool, grade 44’s or finer.  10% wool, grade 60’s or finer.  35% re-worked wool or noils.  Maximum allowable percentage of residue on boil out 2 ½%.  Broken sliver from cards and mules made from the mixture of this fabric, not exceeding 10%, may be added to the blend.

Color. – An olive drab mixture to be a good match to standard sample.

Tests. – The following are the tests which will be applied in the inspections:

  • 1. Washing test: Boil for 10 minutes in a solution containing 80 grains of Oleine soap (Army issue) to 1 pint of water.
  • 2. Laundry test: Boil for 10 minutes in a solution containing 10 grains of dry carbonate of soda to 1 pint of water.
  • 3. Exposure test: Expose to the weather for 30 days.

Size. – To be not less than seven (7) feet nor more than seven (7) feet three (3) inches long.  To be not less than five (5) feet nor more than five (5) feet nine (9) inches wide.

Weight. – To weigh not less than four pounds and not more than four pounds eight ounces.  Blankets weighing less than three pounds shall be rejected, unless when subjected to a conditioned or dry-fiber test the weight thus found, with 11 percent added (for normal regain of moisture allowable), will bring the weight up to or over four pounds.

Weave. – To be a four harness twill, two up and two down.

Threads. – To have not less than 27 threads to the inch in the warp and not less than 30 threads to the inch in the filling in the finished cloth.

Strength. – To sustain a tensile strength of not less than 55 pounds to the inch in the warp and not less than 50 pounds to the inch in the filling.

Border. – Not required.

Finish. – To have the same degree and character of finish as shown by the accepted new standard.  Thoroughly clean and well fulled.  The end secured from raveling by an overlock stitch, the thread employed to conform in shade to the blanket.
Stamping. – All Blankets to be stamped “U. S.” at the mill.  The Government will furnish the stamp and formula.

Label. – In one corner there should be neatly stitched a piece of label cloth, on which shall be printed the name of the contractor, date of the contract, and the name of the depot, together with specification number, leaving a blank space at the bottom for the name of the inspector.

In all points not covered by these specifications to be like and equal to the standard sample in all respects.

Geo. W. Goethals
Acting Quartermaster General.

Specification No 1312 was the last specification issued for army blankets during World War 1.

The next specification issued after the war was No. 8-18 November 10, 1921.

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