- Austrian knot
An Austrian Knot (or Tyrolean Knot) is an elaborate design of twisted cord or
laceworn as part of a dress uniform, usually on the lower sleeve. It is usually a distinction worn by officers; the major exception is the hussars, in which Austrian knots are worn by all ranks. British Cadet Under Officers wear Austrian Knots as part of their rank insignia.
The Austrian Knot evolved as an indicator of rank among officers of the Austro-Hungarian army in the 18th century.
Epaulettes were widely perceived amongst the government in Viennaas a foreign influence (due to their French origin) and thus not acceptable for the Austrian armies. Ranks came to be denoted by braided gold cords on the sleeve, with the number of gold cords representing the rank of the officer. Austrian knots did not gain popularity among other European nations until the last decades of the nineteenth century, when many colonial officers began wearing them (including British infantry officers of the Anglo-Zulu Wars). Along with most other elaborate and conspicuous indicators of rank, Austrian knots fell into disuse during the First World Warand were not revived in everyday wear. French officers of North African regiments such as the Zouavesand the Algerian Tirailleurscontinued however to wear Austrian knots in gold braid on their colourful full dress uniforms until 1939.
United States useage
American Civil War, Confederate officers often wore gold Austrian knots on their uniforms. More elaborate braiding indicated higher rank. This type of insignia was worn by officers of the US Armyon the sleeves of the blue full dress uniforms authorised until 1917. It is a feature of the blue messuniform adopted as optional wear for officers in 1937 and still worn for special social or evening functions.
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