1890s Double-Breasted Winter Coat, Service Stars
In 1893, postal uniform regulations allowed a double-breasted winter coat with 10 brass buttons showing “a letter-carrier in uniform with mail bag on shoulder and letter in uplifted hand” or the seal of the Department (the post rider). Piping on the postal uniform trousers was reduced to 1/4 inch. Summer coats were single-breasted, with five buttons, and straw hats were authorized for summer. Also in 1893, a brass hook 1 1/2 inches long by 3/4 inch wide was placed two inches above the uniform sleeve seam on the right shoulder of the winter and summer coat, to hold the mail bag strap. The hook was dropped from regulations by 1913.
Postal Uniform regulations in 1893 also required summer outerwear to be the same blue-gray color as winter wear. Though postal uniform styles were supposed to be identical at each Post Office, an article in the December 1893 issue of The Postal Record noted that at the Baltimore, Maryland, Post Office, “no two [postal letter carrier] suits were exactly alike and nearly all suits had one colored trousers and a different colored coat.”
In 1897, postal uniform regulations authorized the use of service stripes – one for every five years of service – on the postal uniform and specified that substitutes should wear the letter “S” on their sleeves. In 1899, a black cloth bar replaced the “S,” and service stars, equidistant between seams, replaced the service stripes. The stars were 3/4 inch in diameter and placed 1/2 inch above the black braid on each postal uniform sleeve.
facts provided by: HISTORIAN UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE MAY 2002