Starfleet ranks were first created sometime in the mid 22nd century due to the expansion of the United Earth Starfleet. These early Starfleet ranks had at least three enlisted positions, four officer ranks, and three ranks for use by flag officers.
Starfleet uniforms of this period were mainly worn as single fitting jumpsuits with a colored shoulder trim denoting what field a particular officer or crewman specialized in (command, security/engineering, or science/medical).
The original Starfleet rank pattern was as follows:
Crewman 3rd class
Crewman 2nd class
Crewman 1st class
Rear admiral pips
Vice admiral pips
Dialogue from Star Trek: Enterprise indicated that the “four star” rank of admiral also existed in the United Earth Starfleet, but no one holding this rank was ever seen on camera.
High-ranking pips with the bordered elements were worn in pairs, either side of the collar. Double and triple-pip units had a slight curve to them.
As far as I can tell (from the one photo below), each pin had two attachments, to keep them oriented correctly. I haven’t found an example with a backing bar, and in fact, some multi-pip ranks are a little crooked, suggesting there wasn’t one.
Some are silver/nickel/pewter color and some are gold…I do not know the reason or the pattern for this difference. Maybe a late-series change? Here’s some information on that from one auction listing:
STAR TREK: ENT “STARFLEET OFFICER RANK PIN – GOLD COLORED METAL”
A rank pin like those appearing on Starfleet officers in episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. The item is a rectangular pin backed badge with a centered rectangular dome and measures approx. 0.5 X just over 0.25 inches. The item features a gold metal tint and no evidence can be located supporting that gold pins saw screen use. The item is of a size identical to the silver variety that appears on all of the main characters. Star Trek production personnel have indicated that there is no reason to believe the items were not screen used and in fact may have appeared on screen immediately alongside other characters wearing silver tinted rank.
- Also, I did not include all the MACO or Terran Empire rank devices which were done through epaulettes and patches. Except I want to post this, which is cool. It’s a Corporal rank patch for a MACO but it hasn’t been cut from the embroidered swatch yet.
Here’s what more of the MACO patches looked like:
Crewman 3rd Class:
Crewman 2nd Class:
Crewman 1st Class:
This is Anovos’ version. The product page isn’t accessible anymore, but I found an archived version.
Replicated from screen-used and production-made rank devices, and digitally recreated by ANOVOS’s in-house 3D modeling design team, each individual rank pip consists of full-metal construction (no resin knock-offs here) with Military-style pin clutches.
Offered as four various configurations, each variation sold separately:
Captain’s Set: A set of four (4) rank pips, allowing you the widest possible rank variations, starting from Ensign and ending with Captain.
Commander’s Set: A set of three (3) rank pips, allowing you rank variations between Ensign and ending with Commander.
Lieutenant’s Set: A set of two (2) rank pips, allowing you rank variations between Ensign and ending with Lieutenant.
Ensign’s Set: A single – or one (1) – rank pip.
1:1 replica pips featuring full metal construction with electroplated antique silver finish.
Pins on reverse side with military-style clutches for maximal comfort and connective durability.