Original U.S. Spanish-American War Maine Officer’s M1895 Forage Cap by the M. C. Lilley & Company
Original Item: Only One Available. A new forage cap introduced in 1895 was similar to the caps worn by firemen and train conductors, and did not find favor with the troops. A solid brass branch insignia with a screw-post fastener on the reverse replaced the Pattern 1872 branch insignia in 1896. In May 1898, at the start of the Spanish-American War, the Army adopted a khaki cotton field service uniform based on the British pattern. Because of production problems, no khaki uniforms were issued prior to troop deployment during the Spanish-American War and almost all uniform items were still in “Union Blue” wool.
This is a small size, approximately 6 ⅝ regulation M1895 enlisted forage cap. This was the U.S. Army's first transition to a visor cap after leaving the traditional kepi design. Made of dark blue wool with enameled leather visor bound with gold bullion wire chinstrap which now presents itself as silver. Hat retains the original russet brown leather sweatband which is still solid with partial detach. Inside the crown is lined with black silk and an M.C. Lilley and Co stamp still present.
M.C. Lilley & Company was founded in Columbus, Ohio in 1864 by Mitchell Campbell Lilley, John Siebert and brothers, Charles and Henry Lindenberg. The Lilley Company produced swords, banners, flags, emblems and uniforms for fraternal societies and organizations such as the Masons, Odd Fellows, and the Knights of Pythias, as well as police and military uniforms. The company occupied an entire building in downtown Columbus; this size of an operation positioned the company for tremendous growth and success in the coming "Golden Age of Fraternalism." During this period, from 1870-1910, over 20 percent of men in the United States belonged to a fraternal organization, which served various purposes such as mutual aid and insurance, political interests, social functions, and the comfort of stability and belonging in a dynamic post-war society that was rapidly industrializing.
There are gold gilt federal regulation buttons to the sides depicting the Maine state seal. One of the buttons is unfortunately completely detached from the side, though has still remained with the cap and will be included in the shipping.
Cap is in overall good condition, and comes ready to display in your Spanish American War collections!
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