Space News
space history and artifacts articles

space history discussion forums

worldwide astronaut appearances

selected space history documents

related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Patches & Pins
  Dallas Cap & Emblem space mission patches

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Dallas Cap & Emblem space mission patches
spaced out

Posts: 2867
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 11-01-2013 04:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
New but extremely dedicated space patch collector Kenny Suit has been doing some interesting research.

In trying to identify the manufacturer of some 3" Apollo mission patches given to his father in the late 60s and early 1970s he has been looking closely at packaging for clues.

The first match he found was the below Apollo 13 patch in rather anonymous "SWISS EMBROIDERED EMBLEM" packaging.

A more interesting match was the Apollo 14 patch shown below. Although the manufacturer is not named it uses the slogan "America's Most Wanted EMBLEM!" and has a distinctive "American Institute of Laundering - Certified Washable" mark.

He then found some matches for these identifying features on some non-space patches. The packaging below (which probably dates to the late 1960s to early 1970s) has the "EMBLEMS!" phrase, the "Certified Washable" mark and in the background the text "WORLDS [sic] MOST WANTED". The additional clue given by this packaging style is that they were made in Dallas, Texas.

Knowing that Dallas Cap & Emblem made an Apollo 12 crew patch he decided to look further into that company and discovered the following text in a footnote to the Supreme Court ruling of 1979 involving trademark violations by the company - “All emblems sold in the Novelty Program would be 3" emblems that would be guaranteed by the American Institute of Laundering to be completely washable.

The link to the packaging shown above seemed very strong so he decided to try to track down someone who might be able to answer his questions and managed to get in touch with a relative of the founder of the company. Although they had never worked for the company their son had a framed collection of 3" NASA patches that had been made by Dallas Cap & Emblem.

This photo enables us to identify the Dallas Cap & Emblem versions of all the 3" Apollo mission patches plus their Mercury and Gemini patches and their Gemini and Apollo project patch versions.

I've updated my Crew Patches site with some of this info, although since I've never actively them I'm missing scans of quite a few Apollo 3" souvenir patches.

Again, all this research is the work of Kenny.


Posts: 356
From: Bothell, WA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 11-01-2013 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo   Click Here to Email Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a great find. I had a set of these myself and they had some readily identifiable nuances that set them apart from the very similar 3" set from Cape Kennedy Medals:
  • Double serif on the "F" of Friendship 7 patch
  • Maroon bordered Gemini VII (normally black)
  • Black border Gemini VIII (normally aqua)
  • Sometimes inverted Gemini X
  • Gray/green/bronze Apollo 17
Thank you for sharing his finds.


Posts: 887
From: Honolulu, HI
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 11-01-2013 03:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice bit of sleuthing!


Posts: 26
From: Johnson City, Tennessee USA
Registered: Nov 2013

posted 11-15-2013 08:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kenny   Click Here to Email Kenny     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just some background about my research on these Dallas Cap & Emblem patches: my father worked at the Manned Spacecraft Center (later Johnson Space Center) from the early 1960s until the late 1990s. I've tried to keep most of his "NASA stuff" (as he calls it) and lately have been going through the patches he received as an employee. He never purchased a patch, so everything he has is "from NASA."

(In fact, when I asked him if he'd ever bought a patch from the Johnson Space Center souvenir shop — which was in the cafeteria in the old days — he gave me a look that said, "why would I do that?" It makes me laugh because a lot of the NASA old-timers like my dad have little interest in the collectable ephemera of their old jobs!)

My dad's patch collection has holes. He has no patches from Mercury or Gemini. His Apollo patches are a mixed group — some are four inches and some are three inches. He has nothing from Skylab or Apollo-Soyuz. But he has all the shuttle patches.

I began researching the three inch Apollo patches in his collection because I was curious about them and because three inch patches "don't get a lot of love" (as they say around here). But I thought some of them were quite nice looking and when framed as a group they can make an attractive (and compact!) display.

Thanks to Chris' and Liem's hard work at the Crew Patches and Space Patch Database websites I was quickly able to identify some of my dad's three inch Apollo patches as being versions by A-B Emblem but some of the patches were by "unknown" manufacturers.

So I did the research Chris outlined above.

A couple of remaining questions for me are: why did my dad receive these three inch patches from NASA? And among the late Apollo patches he received, why are some of them from Dallas Cap & Emblem when NASA was by that point officially using A-B Emblem?

Chris suggested that my dad may have received these patches from his supervisor. Dad was working in the Lunar Receiving Lab at the time, and maybe his departmental boss, on his own initiative, purchased a bunch of patches from Dallas Cap or A-B (depending upon the mission) and gave them to the folks working for him. So it wasn't an "official" NASA presentation, but was instead a nice "thank you" from the boss.

One more oddity: whenever my dad received a four inch patch "from NASA" it was always the crew version — with one exception. The STS-51L Challenger patch he received was the version that is entirely grey-backed.


Posts: 26
From: Johnson City, Tennessee USA
Registered: Nov 2013

posted 12-06-2013 09:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kenny   Click Here to Email Kenny     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another smoking gun from eBay (400621039716). I wrote to the seller and he said that this is a catalog from Dallas Cap & Emblem. The cover photo allows us to now identify two 4-inch patches by this company — Apollo 11 and Apollo 12.

There is also a white-bordered Apollo program patch inside that differs from the grey bordered 3-inch version commonly seen. I'm not sure if this means that Dallas Cap made a 4-inch version (white bordered) of this patch as well as the (grey bordered) 3-inch version, or if this is a variation of the 3-inch patch.


Posts: 206
From: Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 12-07-2013 02:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Besixdouze   Click Here to Email Besixdouze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well the Apollo 12 looks pretty much like the Sparkly Wake Crew Patch Variant to me. Nice catch.

spaced out

Posts: 2867
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 12-07-2013 05:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great find Kenny!

The Apollo 11 looks like the 'Grumman' variety and the Apollo 12 is clearly the 'sparky' crew souvenir patch.

For Apollo 12, if we take Conrad's quote about this design "[This] patch was from the first group ever made. It does not have the white outer border between the blue and gold threads. That was added to the additional production runs of the patches." my take on this would be that this was DC&E's first attempt at the design.

Conrad clearly wanted it re-done and the resulting production runs, also by DC&E but with a complete re-interpretation of the artwork, became the well-know Crew patches, with each run showing a slight variation of thread colors.

That would be my guess anyway.


Posts: 26
From: Johnson City, Tennessee USA
Registered: Nov 2013

posted 12-07-2013 05:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kenny   Click Here to Email Kenny     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chris: We've emailed each other to discuss the "Quarantine" and "Souvenir" patches before, and I'm still of the opinion that Dallas Cap & Emblem didn't make the "Quarantine" patch.

It may be that the "Souvenir" is an early version and the "Quarantine" was an improved version by Dallas Cap, but in my mind I can't square the idea that Dallas Cap would create entirely new artwork for a second round of patches. If the astronauts wanted a white inner border Dallas Cap would simply have needed to change the inner border color, not redesign the entire patch.

Also -- and this is what first caused me to question the Dallas Cap attribution to the "Quarantine" patch -- Dallas cap never (to my knowledge) used a selvaged edge where the tail was pulled through. All the patches by Dallas Cap I've ever seen have a tail. But the "Quarantine" patch is selvaged with the tail pulled through.

I'm new at this hobby and you have far more experience with these patches, so you're better equipped to identify them than I am. But until I see a primary source that attributes the "Quarantine" patch with Dallas Cap & Emblem, I must remain a doubting Thomas.

But like Thomas, I'm willing to change my mind!

spaced out

Posts: 2867
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 12-08-2013 02:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kenny, the primary source for the tie of the classic quarantine crew patch to DC&E is John Bisney.

He's done extensive research in the US of the kind I can't really do myself at a distance (visits to people who ran some of the patch companies, archival research etc) so I think we can assume his evidence is solid.


Posts: 26
From: Johnson City, Tennessee USA
Registered: Nov 2013

posted 12-08-2013 08:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kenny   Click Here to Email Kenny     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well John may be correct about that. In fact I've noticed that I was wrong about the "Quarantine" patch not having a tail. I was basing my observation on an example that doesn't, but I've looked at several on your website and elsewhere and most of them do have a tail, just like the other Dallas Cap & Emblem patches I've seen.


Posts: 492
From: Seminole, Fla.
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 12-09-2013 10:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Go4Launch   Click Here to Email Go4Launch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As I have just written Kenny, I cannot explain why the Apollo 12 “souvenir” patch appears on the Dallas Cap brochure; Chris notes “it seems likely that this first design from Dallas Cap and Emblem was rejected by the crew and a re-design requested.” That’s certainly one possibility. I think it’s also possible Dallas Cap used a subcontractor for one of the two versions.

But yes, my research shows NASA bought the "quarantine" patch from Dallas Cap & Emblem.

New Member

Posts: 8
Registered: Sep 2016

posted 12-25-2016 05:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vanerie   Click Here to Email vanerie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think I have both the Mercury and Gemini sets as discussed above. I believe we obtained them either late 60s or early 70s at the Cape Kennedy gift shop. They were sold all mounted on the same piece of cardboard (?) with adhesive. As soon as we got home, they were removed from the cardboard, but because of residual adhesive, were placed in individual glassine envelopes.

Now, probably for the first time in 45+ years, I was looking at them and noticed that the adhesive has completely dried up and in some cases has bled through as a dark brown. Has anyone else seen this or does anyone have any suggestions on how to clean the patches?

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 2016 All rights reserved.

Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a