Anyone who's been a Scouter for a while is familiar with the story of the origin of Wood Badge beads and their postion as recognition of completion of volunteer training in Scouting. Each Scout Association is free to set the standard for their awarding of the beads and traditionally the Gilwell neckerchief or scarf and woggle (or slide). The original beads came from two necklaces Baden Powell received from King Dinizulu.

In the beginning, actual beads from the necklace were presented. Later, facsimile beads usually made of oak, were used instead of the Dinizulu beads.

The facsimile beads are larger than the original beads as you can see from the pictures below. Through the gracious courtesy of Mr. Peter Maryniak we've been provided pictures of beads presented in the 1920s to Scouting leaders in the United Kingdom upon completion of training. Thank you Peter.


Leader Trainer Wood Badge.

(4 beads) Note the smaller fourth bead. It is from the first Dinizulu necklace. The beads are more squared off than beads from the second Dinizulu necklace,


Assistant Leader Trainer Wood Badge.

(3 beads) Note the smaller third bead. It is rounder and from the second Dinizulu necklace. The reporduction beads used today more closely follow the reounder beads of the second necklace.


Cub Leader Wood Badge.

(2 beads) presented to a leader who has completed the Cub Leader Wood Badge. Note the extra, round yellow bead above the lace. (The Scout Leader Woodbadge has a green bead above the knot.) 1923


Wolf Cubmasters Wood Badge

Bear fangs were the Wood Badge for Wolf Cub Masters Wood Badge in 1922-23.



This scan is a close-up of an original Dinizulu bead presented to a BSA executive, but I've lost the details of the story. This bead appears to be from the first Dinizulu necklace.

  Updated August 29, 2003