return to: BSA Badge History Eagle Hat Pin

As an Eagle Scout, I have been very interested in rank badges and how they have changed over the years.  When I found out my friend, Ron Vinatieri, had a collection of all the major types of Eagle Scout badges as defined by Terry Grove in his A Comprehensive Guide to the EAGLE SCOUT AWARD, I encouraged him to let me put together these web pages so that we could all enjoy a piece of scouting history.

Images of the Eagle Scout Badges
List of Subtypes of the Eagle Scout Badges
Nice Eagle Badge, Medal and Scout Rank images for your use
Eagle Badge Cross-Stitch Patterns
The Eagle Scout Medals
Silver Outranks Gold
Eagle Scout Resources
Wearing the Eagle Medal (Mike Walton's web site)

Design Changes of the Eagle Scout Badge

The badge design has changed over the years.  There are currently eight major types.  The first two types were issued on both tan khaki cloth and the uniform colors of the Sea Scouts - blue and white.  Starting with the third design, considered to be the best looking Eagle badge, the badge had a finished edge for wear on any color of uniform.

The types and years of the badges are:

  • Type 1  1924 - 1932
    This first cloth Eagle badge was made special for the BSA World Jamboree contingent to Denmark in 1924 and is the only one of the first type that has the "Good Turn" knot hanging from the "Be Prepared" scroll.  This new patch was worn on the merit badge sash at the top.  There are four background colors:  coffee/tan, olive, white, and blue.

  • Type 2  1933 - 1955
    This patch had lettering, BE PREPARED and EAGLE SCOUT, BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA added and the BSA was removed.  The early patches were made with silk thread and about 1940 the thread was changed to cotton.  The background material came in five colors:  tan, olive, white, blue, and khaki.

  • Type 3  1956 - 1972
    With the new rolled edge, special backgrounds were no longer needed to serve the various scout programs.

  • Type 4  1972 - 1974
    The change in design corresponded to the change from 21 merit badges required for Eagle to 24 merit badges.  Since the new design was not well received, it was changed within four years.

  • Type 5  1975 - 1985
    Apparently, due to the poor quality control, there are many variations of this design.

  • Type 6  1985 - 1986
    The 75th Anniversary of Scouting brought about a change back to a design similar to type 3 but with the border and eagle on the patch done in silver mylar and the motto was done in blue.  The mylar eagle did not wear well so there was a change after only 2 years.

  • Type 7  1986 - 1989
    Along with the eagle being changed to gray thread, the scroll was enlarged with a distinct sweeping curve and the letters BE PREPARED enlarged.

  • Type 8  1989 - present
    The removal of the silver mylar border is the only real change in this design.

  • BSA - 100 years  2010
    The year 2010 was added to the badge to denote the 100th anniversary of the BSA.  I am proud to say that the 2010 rank designs used for both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts were designed by me.  You can see my original drawings in 2010_Ranks.pdf.

  • Eagle Scout Centenial  2012
    In 1912, Arthur Rose Eldred became the first Eagle Scout.  To celebrate that honor and because of the popularity of the 100th Anniversary of Scouting rank badges, BSA has created a special-edition patch for 2012.

The Eagle Scout Hat Pins

The Eagle Scout hat pin was introduced an Eagle Miniature Badge in 1921 and made in sterling silver.  From the period of 1921 - 1955, three different types were made.  The types and years of the pins are:

  • Type 1  1921 - 1924
    This first pin shows the background color as blue-white-red and has "BSA" on the chest of the eagle.

  • Type 2  1924 - 1932
    This second pin shows the background color as red-white-blue and like before has "BSA" on the check.  This background color order was changed to match the new Eagle Scout badge introduced the same year.

  • Type 3  1933-1955
    This third pin had the "BSA" removed from the chest.

  • Distinguished Eagle Pin  1969 - Present
    In 1969, the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award was established.  Along with the recognition package came a gold Eagle Miniature Badge.  Because of the beauty of the miniature pins, I have included the gold pin for a better understanding of what it is.  The gold pin was been made in 14k gold, 1/10-10k gold and custom fine jewelry.

These four Eagle Miniature Badges can be viewed here.

The Eagle Scout Square Knot

In January 1947, BSA announced that a new insignia had been created to replace the bar pins formerly used to represent Scouter awards.  Later the same year they added that the Eagle Scout award would be included.  This new insignia would be a square knot with a background to match the uniform.

Nine variations of the Eagle square knot can be viewed here.

View images of all eight types of Eagle badges and nine types of Eagle square knots on this page.

For the collector who wants to have a list of all the subtypes, I have used Terry Grove's book to list them here.

This is not an official site of the Boy Scouts of America.  The Eagle Scout badges and Eagle Scout hat pin are scanned images of Ron Vinatieri's collection and the scanned images are copyright.  You are welcome to print these pages for your reference.  However, if you would like to use the images in any other manner, you must receive permission from Craig Murray.

The information about the badges was obtained from A Comprehensive Guide to the EAGLE SCOUT AWARD by Terry Grove.