It is to symbolise a pineapple. Originally JUOs had to pass an initiation test, involving a pineapple. The exact details of this test have been lost in the mists of time, but few have known to have survived the test intact.
You're right I was thinking about OTC JUOs and mistyped "Viennese Schnitzel". There must be some subconscious connection between them and lumps of inanimate, but very tender, meat with egg (and it has to be admitted, sometimes, breadcrumbs) on their faces.
So right mate,
Austrian knot was used int'owd days as a badge of rank for junior officers
(tried to paste one in here but would notFNAA work) the knot thats used for UOTC rank slides is a lot simpler one, probably easier to produce.
Don't know the definite reason why its worn, but was told
'Its a made up symbol of rank, as the actual UOTC ranks are only honorifics and not real ranks'
Hope this helps, any more light greatly appreciated
Both the Royal Navy and the Army originally had a probationary rank for young officers. Midshipman in the Navy and Ensigns in the Army enjoyed the privileges (sort of) of a junior officer and were mollycoddled perhaps even more by a SNCO than a 2lt is today. Both would have fullfilled a protected and safer job during battle as a method of instructing them in officership whilst hopefully keeping them alive long enough to get a proper commission, in the Navy a midshipman could have been as young as 12 whilst an ensign was unlikely to ever be much younger than 16. Ensigns wore their distinguishing mark on their sleeve rather than on their shoulder, the JUO's knot origanted from this sleeve decoration. I say decoration because it was not a mark of rank, it was felt that without rank people would mistake these young propabtionary officers for soldiers, the gold piping on the sleeve was quite literally added to show the higher quality of their uniforms in comparison to soldiers and therefor denote their status as officers without rank.