US Navy WW2 Clothing Contract Database

Quick Start

1. Type valid characters in the white text area provided then click on the search button or press your enter key to initiate a search.
2. Only one query can run at a time.
3. Search criteria are NOT case sensitive.
4. Any part of a name can be entered in the Contractor Name or Item Name search fields.
5. The Contract Number lookup requires an exact match to yield a result.
6. Ampersands, hyphens, and apostrophes were sometimes used in contractor and item names and are allowed where appropriate. If a special character is included in a query but doesn't return a result, try the query again omitting the special character.

Search By Contract Number

A valid entry consists of a 2 to 5 digit number.

Contract Number
Returns contract information based on a 2 to 5 digit contract number entered into the Contract Number field. An exact match is required for the search to be successful. Only the numeric portion of the contract number need be entered. Example: Entering 59569 for contract number NXSX 59569 will return information for the 1944 contract awarded to Popular Manufacturing Company to produce N-1 Winter Jackets. A Contract number search will yield more than one record when the contract was divided between multiple production facilities or more than one type of item was produced under the contract number or the number was reused after a scheduled reset to zero.

Search By Item Name

Min: 3 characters. Max: 30 characters.
Valid characters include letters, numbers, apostrophes, hyphens, and parentheses.

Item Name
Returns a chronological list of contract information in ascending order based on all or part of an item name entered into the Item Name field. Results may include one or more items based on the search criteria used. Example: Entering shoe will return several different items with "shoe" included in the name. When several different items are returned by the query, search results can be refined by re-running the query using all or part of one of the names returned. Some item names are followed by a supplementary description and/or specification number enclosed in parenthesis. A follow-up search can also be run using wording form the supplementary information but not from both the item description and supplementary info.

Search By Contractor Name

Min: 3 characters. Max: 30 characters.
Valid characters include letters, ampersands, and apostrophes.

Contractor Name
Returns a chronological list of contract information in ascending order based on all or part of a contractor's name entered into the Contractor Name field. Results may include one or more contractors based on the search criteria used. Example: Entering goodwear will return contract information for the Goodwear Knitting Mills. If multiple contractors are shown, a search can be refined by re-entering search criteria based on given results.


  • Of all the services, the nomenclature the Navy used to describe their clothing items was the most basic. Furthermore, changes in design or color often did not prompt an associated change in the nomenclature previously in use. To help the user identify items, a supplementary description was added to many of the items in the database. These additional descriptions are enclosed in parenthesis and appear right after item name. It should be emphasized these additional descriptions are not part of the official nomenclature for the item. For example, the official Navy nomenclature for the lightweight knit wool sweater that was standard issue for the enlisted man was simply called a Jersey. Intuitively one would think of this as a blue sweater, so in this case (Blue Sweater) was added after the item description.
  • Flying clothes were among the few types of Navy garments that routinely included a specification number on the labeling. Flying clothing specification numbers were included, in parenthesis, next to the item description in order to provide precise identification of each item produced under a given contract.
  • Between July 1942 and June 1943 the Bureau of Supplies & Accounts procured large quantities of clothing for ground personnel that were based on US Army types. This was done to outfit ground forces until the Navy's own types became ready for procurement around mid-1943. This contracting was done mostly on behalf of the Bureau of Yards & Docks and the Bureau of Ships. These contracts were entered into the database with a parenthesis after the item description containing the wording Army Type followed by the corresponding Army specification number.
  • Most of the clothing items contained in this database are work and field types as opposed to service uniforms. This is because work and field clothes were generally produced by external contractors and marked with a label that could withstand moderate use. Conversely, dress and service uniform labels often did not include contract number information or were applied to labels that were meant to be removed.
  • Procurement of Navy clothing during WW2 was, for the most part, centralized and carried out by the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts. Contract numbers were issued by Supplies & Accounts beginning with 1 and started over again after reaching 99,999. Numbers reset twice during the WW2 era; first, in early March, 1942 and then again in April, 1945.
  • Contract numbers included a prefix used to identify the particular bureau or office responsible for the issuing the contract. The Bureau of Supplies & Accounts went through a procession of different identifying prefixes during the War. Revisions to the prefixes usually coincided with changes in the procurement process, bureaucratic structure, and with contract number resets all of which occurred continually throughout the course of the war. Below is a list of contract number prefixes used by Supplies & Accounts followed by the approximate time of use in parenthesis:
    • Nos - (pre-war to March, 1942).
    • Nxs - (March, 1942 to December, 1942).
    • NXsx - (January, 1943 to April, 1945).
  • By far, the most common of these prefixes was NXsx. Adopted in 1943, it had the longest wartime use and was constructed in the following manner:
    • N = Navy Department.
    • X = Placeholder for last digit of the year the contract number would reset to 1.
    • s = Supplies & Accounts.
    • x = Placeholder for use when Supplies & Accounts issued a contract for another bureau .
    Understanding this, we know that beginning in 1943, Supplies & Accounts also purchased for other Bureaus within the Navy and are identified by the following contract prefixes and approximate time of use:
    • NXsy = Yards & Docks - (January, 1943 to April, 1945).
    • NXss = Ships (other) - (January, 1943 to April, 1945).
    • NXso = Ordnance - (January, 1943 to April, 1945).
    Finally, in 1945, Supplies & Accounts used the following prefix when contract numbers restarted in the spring of the year:
    • N5sx = Supplies & Accounts - (April, 1945 to May, 1945).
  • In addition to the major Navy bureaus, there were purchasing offices and base installations that also procured clothing. The most common of these along with the approximate time of use are as follows:
    • N140s = Navy Purchasing Office, N.Y., Ny. - (Pre-war to June, 1945).
    • N288s = Aviation Supply Office, Phil., Pa. - (February, 1942 to May, 1945).
    • N156s = Aircraft Factory, Phil., Pa. - (Period of use undetermined).
    Beginning in the pre-war period to March, 1942, the New York Purchasing office appeared to share from the same pool of contract numbers as the Bureau of Supplies & Accounts after which the Office operated using an independent set of numbers. The Aviation Supply Office began contracting clothing around January - February 1942 and operated using an independent set of contract numbers.
  • As a general rule, contract number prefixes were entered into the database as they appeared on the actual clothing labels. This made the most sense since this is what a user would likely be looking at when prompted to use the database. It should be noted, however, that during periods when contract prefix protocol changed there tended to be a transition time where labels were produced with the lettering from the old system after the new system was already in use. Additionally, during a changeover period some manufacturers started by producing clothing with labels showing the old contract prefix and then later switched to labels showing the new prefix. Where this was the case the prefix shown in the Alphabetical Listing of Major War Supply Contracts was entered into the database.
  • Flying clothing generally had a black cloth label with gold lettering affixed to the garment. These labels usually had BuAero - U.S. Navy on them indicating procurement for the Bureau of Aeronautics. The use of contract prefix protocol on these labels was inconsistent. Generally, pre-war contracts showed Nos prefixes and early-war contracts showed Nxs prefixes with contract numbers falling in line with the Bureau of Supplies & Accounts usage at the time the contract was issued. Occasionally no contract prefix appeared at all on the label and in these cases the proper prefix can be assigned by use of the Alphabetical Listing of Major War Supply Contracts, or by evaluation of the type of garment and contract number. Sometimes the letter suffix A appeared either after the prefix or contract number and presumably indicates contracting for the Bureau of Aeronautics. For the sake of continuity and functionality, Aeronautics contracts with Nos or Nxs prefixes on the original labels had an A added to the end of the prefix before being entered into the database. These contracts will appear in the database as NOS(A) and NXS(A) respectively. By early 1944, it appears that most of the contracting for flying clothing was done by the Aviation Supply Office, which was located in Phila. Pa. and was jointly controlled by the Bureaus of Aeronautics and Supplies & Accounts. These contracts are identified by the N288s prefix.
  • Some large military contracts, those with a value of $50,000 or more, were listed in the Alphabetical Listing Of Major War Supply Contracts published by the Civilian Production Administration, Industrial Statistics Division. Where these records are available, additional information is provided in the database including the value of the contract in thousands of dollars and the contract completion month and year. Many contracts, however, were small in size and are not listed in this source and must be recorded into the database with limited information. These smaller production runs are recorded from original clothing examples with legible contract information but are crucial to providing a more complete view of the production history of a particular item.
  • Some WW2 clothing contracts were quite large having a value in the millions of dollars. To deliver on these large contracts, some firms divided production among different plant locations. When this was the case, the database may return multiple records for a single contract number. If the database has returned multiple records for a single contract number and the plant locations are noted to be different, the contract amounts can be added together and be thought of as one large contract.
  • Many large contracts involved the production of more than one type of garment. For example, it was common for N-1 Winter Jackets, N-1 Winter Trousers, and N-1 Winter Helmets to be produced by the same manufacturer under one contract number. In short, the Navy quite often contracted for complete outfits instead of individual items. As a result, published contract information is often described in generic terms, such as rain suits, winter clothing, work suits, or very simply just clothing. These descriptions are vague and carry little meaning today for those who are interested in what types of uniforms were produced and when. Because of this, it was felt that the database would be most useful if each item made under a contract was entered separately into the database along with its appropriate name. An entry was only made into the database after a physical specimen was matched to the published contract information. As a result of doing this, the database may return multiple records for a single contract number that show different items produced. If the database has returned multiple records for a single contract number and the plant locations are noted to be the same and the contract amounts are the same, the contract amounts should NOT be added together. The contract amount for one of the records is the total amount of the contract. Another consequence of entering items on an individual basis is that a search could return, for example, trousers when the user was expecting the result to be a jacket. This would be because the contract involved multiple items and a physical specimen of jacket has not yet been verified and entered into the database.
  • Some large dollar contracts could take up to a year for the manufacturer to complete. When items changed to a new type during this extended manufacturing time, production was often shifted to the new item. Thus, new and old type items could be manufactured under the same contract number. When this is the case, the database can return multiple items under the same contract number. Thus, if a result shows multiple items, the same contract number, and the same plant locations, the contract amounts should NOT be added together. The contract for one of the records is the total amount of the contract.

Q:  Does this database contain a complete listing of all the US Navy clothing contracts issued during the WW2 period?
A:   No. However, new contract info is being added all the time. The database only stores info on clothing contracts between approx. 1940 and 1945. The current number of contracts contained within the database can be found here....

Q:   Where can I find contractor names and item names to enter as search criteria?
A:   Contractor names can be found on clothing labels, shipping crates and war supply contract listings. Item names are also found on clothing labels, as well as in a variety of other sources including official uniform regulations and manuals, price lists of clothing and equipment, the Clothing Index section of this website, and many other publications covering the topic of WW2 US Navy clothing.


(Unaccredited). Alphabetical Listing of Major War Supply Contracts. (Culmulative June 1940 Through September 1945). Civilian Production Administration, Industrial Statistics Division. 1947.

(Unaccredited). Navy Filing Manual. (Fourth Edition). United States Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 1941.

Comm. V. H. Schaeffer. Maintenance. Flying and Popular Aviation. (Volume XXX Number 1). Ziff-Davis Publishing Co., Chicago, IL., January, 1942.

McCarl, J. R., Comptroller General, Ginn, Lurtin R., Assistant Comptroller General. Decisions Of The Comptroller General Of The United States. (Volume 5, July 1, 1925 to June 30, 1926. Appendix, List of Approved Symbols for Numbering Contracts Under the Uniform System, Department of the Navy, pp. 1072). Government Prining Office. Washington, DC. 1926.