A sailor cap is a round, flat visorless hat worn by sailors in many of the world's navies. A tally, an inscribed black silk ribbon, is tied around the base which usually bears the name of a ship or a navy. Many navies (e.g. the German) tie the tally at the rear of the cap and let the two ends hang down to the shoulders as decorative streamers. In the Royal Navy the tally is tied off in a bow over the left ear and in the early 20th century it was customary when going on shore leave to tie a small coin in the bow to make it stand out. In wartime, as a security measure, many navies replace the name of the ship with a generic title (e.g. "HMS" = "His/Her Majesty's Ship" in the Royal Navy or "South African Navy"). The cap may be further embellished with a badge, cockade or other accessory. Visorless caps of this kind began to be worn in the mid 19th century.
The more rigid type of sailor hat with a wide, flat peak is also known as square rig (this refers generally to a type of sailor uniform) cap or pork pie (not to be confused with the brimmed pork pie hat).
The sailor cap was first introduced in 1811 as a part of the uniform in the Russian Navy (bezkozyrka, ru. бескозырка, non-peaked hat). It was a development of the peaked cap in application to marine conditions.
United States Navy, Bolivian and Venezuelan sailors wear a unique white canvas hat with an upright brim, often referred to as a "Dixie cup" in reference to its similarity to the shape of a common disposable drinking cup, or a "gob hat" or cap. This hat was also worn by Polish Navy sailors before 1939—it was called "amerykanka" (not exactly pol. "American hat") or "nejwihetka" (derived from the English phrase "Navy hat").
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