We have looked in the past at plastic cap badges, introduced in World War II as an economy measure. These are quite well known now, however what many do not realise is that economy cap badges were also used in World War I. Here the cap badges were still made of brass, but measures were taken to reduce the time taken to manufacture them; bi colour badges were produced in just brass and some designs with cut out portions were issued without this step. In 1916 the Army Service Corps started to receive economy badges:
In the standard cap badge, all the spaces around the intertwined ‘ASC’ were carefully cut out by hand. By leaving this area solid a huge amount of manufacturing capacity could be freed up, especially considering the number of members of the ASC. This economy badge is a simple metal pressing, carefully cut out and with a metal slider soldered to the back:
These badges would normally have been dropped after the war on the grounds of uniformity, however as the ASC was granted Royal status and became the Royal Army Service Corps so all cap badges had to be replaced anyway with a new design with the Royal Cypher on it and the problem of two very different patterns resolved.