It is commonly believed that the Christian military order of the Knights Templar became active in the early 12th century.
This is a Knights Templar fatigue cap used for travel between homes and commanderies, and sometimes for drill, this cap was fashioned after a train-mans hat.
Today the Knights Templar is a philanthropic order affiliated with Freemasonry. Their full title is The United Religious, Military, and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta.
This particular cap bears the insignia of the Knights Templar Order of the Red Cross. As you can see, their distinctive symbol is rendered in red velvet on the front of the cap and framed in extraordinary silvery-gray thread. The surrounding embroidery shows a little bit of wear.
The hat is black while a thin golden band adorns the front. It is held in place by a button on each side; both of which are embossed with the "crown and cross" symbol and surrounded by the Latin inscription "In Hoc Signo Vinces" ("In This Sign, You Will Conquer"). This combination has always served as the Order's Herald.
There is a printed crest on the underside of the hat which reads "The Henderson-Ames Co., Kalamazoo, Mich". Founded in 1895, the company specialized in uniform regalia for secret societies, fraternal organizations, and the military.
There are there gold-colored letters underneath this manufacturer's mark which presumably read "EEE" though the first letter is damaged. There is a small black sticker on the underside of the bill which also shows wear. The interior band of the cap is lined with tawny-brown leather.
As you can see, the hat shows a fair amount of even wear, including some scuffs on the leather bill and general fading. In spite of that, this is one of the better condition fatigue caps we've seen.
They are hard to find.
It is a really cool hat and one that can definitely be worn. If you read the glitterati magazines, there is a very famous female singer that wears a cap just like this in her jaunting around town attire.
Despite the wear, this hat remains a fabulous piece of history and would the perfect piece for the avid collector of secret society paraphernalia.
Measurements: Interior band circumference: 21" Vertical height: 3 ¼" Side to side over crown: 15" Weight: 145.4 grams (5.13 oz)