An example of a post exchange from the late 1800s-early 1900s.

The Exchange at 125: Meet the Founder of Today’s Exchange

Brig. Gen. Theo Swan is regarded by some military experts as the “father” of the post exchange system.

Following directions by the Secretary of War, Assistant Adjutant General Brig. Gen. Theodore Schwan’s 1888 report spells out the philosophy, concepts and principles of how post canteens on Army installations should operate. In 1892, the War Department changed the name “post canteen” to “post exchange.”

On July 25, 1895, the War Department authorized local commanders to open post exchanges, which would operate under the same guidelines found in Schwan’s report.

Those rudimentary post exchanges evolved into today’s Army & Air Force Exchange Service.

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Want to know the rules about running a post exchange? This guy wrote them. Read more:


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