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sgtpeter
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[REF] USMD towels

Sat Jun 28, 2008 01:19

From what I have seen so far, there are three types of towels issued by USMD - bath, hand and dish. Were there others? What's the correct markings and sizes for the towels? Anyone have pics from towels in their collection?
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martyn
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Sat Jun 28, 2008 08:44

Not USMD but here are 4 towels from my collection

The M.D. U.S.N. measures 17 x 35

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The USN measures 18 x 33

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The USMC measures 17 x 29 ½

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The Camp LeJeune 21 x 36 ½

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This label is on each towel

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All measurements are in inches

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Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:21

Hi Peter,
I will see if I can dig out some of my towels and post up some pictures for you.
Regards,
Ben
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Sun Jun 29, 2008 19:21

Hi Peter,

Still need to dig mine out of storage, but for the meantime here is a photograph that was sent to me by Lois Montbertrand, having this thread. Her father, Robert Shiner served as a Regimental Dentist with the 203d General Hospital during WW2. The photograph was taken sometime in 1941 during her Father's time with the 44th Inf. Div. National Guard on maneuvers in Louisiana, the Carolinas, and Texas. The towels seem to have embroidered text reading "HOSPITAL PROPERTY." I surmise that this is the type of towels that were used in General and Station Hospitals in the ZI, and appear to be made of the same material as the Huck (hand) towels issued by both the Medial Department and Quartermaster Corps during WW2:

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Hope this helps, and watch this space!
Ben
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Mon Jun 30, 2008 01:45

Thanks for the replies Martyn and Ben.

Martyn - your towels look like huck? They look like they are probably from the same period. Do you know how old?

Ben - do any of your resources show sizes for the towels?

I found these surgical huck towles. Seem a little smaller than Martyn's examples.

Was there a standard color for the stripe? I have seen blue stripe and red stripe. Would it be fair to assume the ones with just text and no cadeusus are WW2 vintage?
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martyn
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Mon Jun 30, 2008 08:17

Hi Peter

The 3 smaller ones are huck but the larger Camp LeJeune is definitely standard towelling material.

They are all WW2 period.

The one that shows as just white in the picture has “USN” in raised lettering across the centre


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Mon Jun 30, 2008 19:19

Hi Peter,

Here are some of the towels from my collection. I'm sorry it's taken so long to get them to you, most of them were stashed away in one of my MD Chests and I finally located them for you!

This first one is a standard Huck Towel (hand towel). It is constructed from the standard huck material, and as indicated by the label from the original packet they came from, it measures 17" x 36". The only markings that appear on this example are M.D., U.S.A. I have seen some sellers that stock these which have a date of either 1942 or 1943, but genuine examples only have this lettering on them:

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This is another example of the above. This version has a red stripe with the wording as can be seen. I can't find any label or other markings on this one, and since purchasing it haven't seen another:

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This is an example of the Bath Towel, but I suspect that it is post war. As can be seen the material is made from toweling as opposed to the huck material of those above. Measurements of this example are 21" x 41":

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I hope these shots will help you. I know that I have two more variations of the Huck Towel somewhere, so as soon as I find them, I will post them up for you.

Regards,
Ben :)
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Mon Jun 30, 2008 19:32

Thanks Ben. Those are great items and pics. I'll see what I can find now. :)

On the last towel, since it has the caducues between the US, I tend to believe it post WW2 as well. That symbol is on other post war items I have.
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Tue Jul 01, 2008 22:59

Hey Ben -

Looks like I found the big brother to your red stripe towel. It measures 21x42.
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towel bath 42x21 1a.jpg
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Tue Jul 01, 2008 23:56

Hi Peter,

Yes, that certainly looks like the Bath Towel version of my red-striped example above. I'm not too sure of the era of these issue though, and surmise that it might be WW2 vintage, since the sizes of the WW2 issue match. If you don't mind me asking, what is the source of this towel, and do they have any more since I might be inclined to purchase one to accompany the smaller version in my collection.

Kind regards,
Ben :)
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Wed Jul 02, 2008 00:30

Found it on ebay. Have seen several different styles over the years, but was never sure what was real and for what time period. The guy who had it listed lives about 10 mi away from me so I'm going to ask if he has any more. Based on information on this site, I'm pretty sure the lettering only towels are WW2 era.
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Wed Jul 02, 2008 00:57

Found two pics of towels on HistoryLink:

This one looks like a
bath towel.

I'm not sure what size the towel is here.
Peter

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Sat Jul 19, 2008 18:12

Here is a little of what I know about the towels used by the Army and Navy in WW2. The “terry cloth” or “looped” towels were used mostly for bathing and hygiene related needs. There are three items generally considered in this group the larger bath towel, a hand sized towel and wash cloth. Most of these towels were property marked with a “turkey red” stripe with interwoven “MEDICAL DEPARTMENT - US ARMY”. The Navy versions are similar with the stripe being blue and bearing a “MD-USN” or “NAVY “ spelled out. I have not seen a plain white towel in this family of medical towels but I suspect they could exist.
The huck towels as previous posts have covered were another issue. Generally speaking the towels in the early war period were Turkey Red striped with the white interwoven “MD-US ARMY” property marks. Another prominent type of huck towel emerged around 1942 it looks like and I suspect it may have been a war expediency measure and these were the white huck towel that is solid white in color and bears just an inked property stamp on the tail of “MD-USA”.
The Navy also appears to have followed the army and produced just the plain white huck towels with black inked stamps, “MD-USN”.
In application the huck towels are what is used in patient wound care, setting sterile fields, direct surgical applications, instrument wraps, drapes, and liners. The huck is superior to the “terry cloth” or “Looped” towel as it does not “fuzz” or shed lint. Lint is obviously a bad thing in a sterile or wound management environment.
There are flat out fakes and reproductions out there of these towels. As posted earlier the towels you encounter that are dated are most assuredly fakes. From what I understand these may have been offered as souvenirs from the Normandy region. Another take of the same story has it the towels and the MD-USA marks are correct but have been “doctored” with the addition of a date. I have not personally examined one of these but the source that has was reputable. A few years ago I produced 144 reproduction huck towels. These were made not as an attempt to deceive but rather offer a usable alternative to using incorrect or originals. The towels I reproduced were standard white huck towels that were stamped with black textile ink using a rubber stamp that was crafted from an original. I produced both an army and navy version. These towels were sold mainly to people known to me. I was at a militaria show last fall and did see one of my repro’s being offered as an original. Mine have no makers or content tags.

The blue striped huck towels commonly seen with the "US" and caduces are post war productions, though mistakenly identified by many as war manufacture. The Navy towels are more problematic to date as they continued the use of the "MD-USN" logo into the Korean War at least.

Hope this info was helpful.
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Sun Jul 20, 2008 04:24

Doc Dean:

Interesting - and hence a caution about making reproductions that are "too good" - we want it to be right, but there needs to be some marking or proof it's a repro...
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martyn
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Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:49

I found this towel at the War and Peace Show, Beltring, Kent last week.

It measures 41 inches by 21 inches and is marked MEDICAL DEPARTMENT 1943.

It has a hanger at each end.

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Apparently this came from a hospital in Belgium used by US forces in WW2

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