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 Post subject: Going to war in a "Cardboard Hat"
PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:41 pm 
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Many of you will have seen this beater for sale on Ebay 2 weeks ago. I bought it for parts but this piece has some surprises. Originally I thought the shell was vulcan fibre due to its black interior. Having received it I now know that the entire helmet is made from cardboard! I have never seen an entire officer helmet made from this material.
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All fittings are heavily patinated, scales and visor trim are brass, I presume the wappen is as well.

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Both kokarden are rusted. The missing finish reveals the remains of a cardboard visor.

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Cardboard side reinforcements as well. Most of the paint on the Bavarian kokarde is gone although it is in good shape. Scales are slightly curved but the side bosses are flat. This is the true way to judge whether scales are flat or convex, check out the bosses, they will be curved to match the curve of the scales, if they are convex.

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Spike top is broken unfortunately and again heavy patination. A spot of missing finish reveals the shell is cardboard.

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The black painted interior is interesting and reveals more examples of cardboard construction techniques. First, all prongs including the chin scale bosses have tin washers on them. Stars are screw and nut backed with tin washers. The prong backed wappen, suggests perhaps that this is a wartime piece. Tin washers prevent prongs from pulling through the fibre shell. The rim of the helmet is reinforced by a thin strip of leather, this prevents the visor and liner stitching from pulling through the shell rim. Vulcan fibre officer helmets will also have this thin strip. Size is 56.5 cm. Although the typical small Bavarian flat head prong brad is missing, you can see that it also had a tin washer on it. Every fitting on this helmet except for the visor side pins had a washer on it. The reason for this is that their prongs went through the leather rim strip.

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One last close up which shows how thin the finish was (paint??) and the complete cardboard construction of this helmet. I can not imagine going to war in a cardboard hat. Perhaps this was a "parade" only piece?

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 Post subject: Re: Going to war in a "Cardboard Hat"
PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:11 am 
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When you get this one restored it will truly be a rare piece.

But it will be a long road .


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 Post subject: Re: Going to war in a "Cardboard Hat"
PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:15 am 
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Very interesting! Not many of those could have survived! I know that cardboard (fiberboard) had been used as far back as the Napoleonic Wars but I had no idea that an entire Pickelhaube was made of this material. I thought that cardboard was only used by the BKA for replacement visors or neck guards. I have one Napoleonic piece (Tschako) that is made of fiberboard but it is much thicker, sort of like a mailing tube. Your helmet appears to be made of a much thinner cardboard, like the backing of a paper tablet. You mentioned that you bought this helmet for parts, but I would think long and hard about restoring it. It has to be rare.

I wonder how they formed the cardboard into the dome shaped skull???????

Congratulations!!!

John :bravo: :bravo: :bravo:


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 Post subject: Re: Going to war in a "Cardboard Hat"
PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:27 am 
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Matt and John......I echo your thoughts, a rare survivor so, this is now a restoration project. Years ago, I did encounter a papier mache OR's M15 so I know they were produced. Now, I have yet another challenge....making replacement visors. Once again, another surprise from the world of pickelhauben. :) I plan on spraying the interior lightly with water and then blocking the shell on a headform. I think this will put the shell back into proper shape. If this were vulcan fibre, in my experience, there is no way to reshape it. More to come on this rare but wounded survivor.

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 Post subject: Re: Going to war in a "Cardboard Hat"
PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:59 am 
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A postscript response regarding John's question about how this fibre board was formed into a shell.....I think that just like leather, it was wetted and then put on a form. You can see the wrinkles along the inside rim of the shell, you see this on some leather shells as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Going to war in a "Cardboard Hat"
PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:04 am 
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At least the helmet came with it's front visor trim.

:wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Going to war in a "Cardboard Hat"
PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:15 pm 
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Really cool Brian, looking forward to seeing it redone!

James

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