I don't know when we started painting stripes on our Dungaree sleeves, but it was after World War II. Some were so bad and some so small that one of the guys that made stuff for the Marine Corps made Stripe markers. The original was like a box, you put that part of the sleeve where your stripe was supposed to be, then pushed the inside of the box back in, inside the sleeve, and if everything came out fine you had great looking stripes on your dungarees.
It was during the Korean War that all kinds of metal stripes came out and were made in Korea. Big ones, small ones, colored ones… like I said, all kinds of them. Then the Marine Corps started to see which ones were best and who made the best and all that, and they came out with the metal stripes for the collars. Pfc., Corporal, Sergeant, Staff and above, and they were finally made constant and all were similar and we got uniform stripes to put on our collars.
The only question I have had for years is how did we get along all those years without the stripes for dungarees. I guess we believed Marines would remember who was who. Officers during combat in World War II wore their bars on the underside of the collar, and you had to be reasonably close to realize it was an Officer.
Here's a picture from WWII taken during a lull in combat and see if you can see who is what in the group.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired