Thursday, June 3, 2010


Plain Anchor button on my MFSC Signal Vest. One of the sleeve buttons on my coat has trhe notorious "Fouled Anchor" buttons, a brief explanation of it's meaning below;

I recently took to my custom Barnstormer from Aero Leather in Galashiels, Scotland, with a score of vintage buttons and some 50's era Dragon Liberty Cuffs..
The Oxford Companion to ships & the sea, edited by Peter Kemp, 1976, has the following explanation:

"The use of the foul, or fouled anchor, an abomination to seamen when it occurs in practice, as the seal of the highest office of maritime administration is purely on the grounds of its decorative effect, the rope cable around the shank of the anchor giving a pleasing finish to the stark design of an anchor on its own. "

Helene Philibert, "Those Carried in the Tops of Ships," US Naval Institute Proceedings, March 1931, quotes Cmdr C. N. Robinson's book The British Fleet [1894] as follows:

"[Up to the late Tudor or Stuart period] the Admiralty badge was a crescent moon with a golden star between the horns, but about that time the crescent was replaced by the anchor which was also used a seal with a motto round it according to the fancy of the Lord High Admiral. When the Earl of Northumberland was in office, the anchor had a cable festooned about it in a wonderful manner. The Duke of York put this anchor into the Admiralty flag. About 1720 the foul anchor which had before been the badge of the victualling officer was taken for the Admiralty and it was put into the seal, badge and flag.In 1815, the clean anchor was restored to the flag, but the foul anchor remains the badge at Whitehall."

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