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 Post subject: The Leather Chin Strap
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:30 pm 
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I thought, we should get into a discussion concerning the various leather, original and reproduction chin straps that one encounters in this pickelhauben collection addiction that we all suffer from. I am going to start with a very obvious reproduction that I purchased from a dealer at a military show. This has steel fittings:
Image
Image
The biggest give away here is the use of a pebbled leather and the fact that the leather is dyed black on both sides. The presence of parallel lines at the sides of the strap is per the originals. There is also no obvious signs of use, cracking to finish, rust etc. Just too new in appearance. Chin straps have to be hand stitched due to the fact that thread is looped around the strap at both edges.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:08 pm 
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When were brass fittings used? When was the change made from scales to leather straps? Why do some "lobstertails" have leather straps and others have scales? What are the differences between say, a M1915 picklehaube strap and an M1916 stahlhelm strap?


Last edited by ebeeby on Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:26 pm 
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ebeeby wrote:
When were brass fittings used? When was the change made from scales to leather straps? Why so some "lobstertails" have leather straps and others have scales?


Read THIS

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:44 am 
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This is one of the best tutorials thus far; please keep listing more photos of fake vs. real chinstraps (and cockades) with the give-aways. Ersatz straps as well. :thumb up:

And needless to say Kaiser's Bunker has been my reference of choice ever since I discovered it on the Net. :thumb up:

Just a quick clarification: From my understanding, and please correct me if I'm wrong Tony, the same leather--sometimes replaced by ersatz cloth--chinstrap was used on all headgear that needed one, mainly the EM Pickelhaube, the EM Shako, the Stahlhelm (M16 & M17) and the Cav. EM Metalhelmes (Kurassier & JZP 'lobster tails'). They only gradually switched from brass to feldgrau treated steel fittings in 1915.

Now my question is: Is it true that the NCO chinstraps kept the brass fittings to get distinguished from EM?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:58 am 
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RON wrote:
Now my question is: Is it true that the NCO chinstraps kept the brass fittings to get distinguished from EM?


Yes to your first question, but where did you hear that NCO story? Remember: every helmet on ebay is an NCO and at a show, every WWII German thing was removed from a dead SS officer.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:32 pm 
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I guess this NCO thing is an urban myth... (i.e. yes, all I had before I discovered you guys was eBay :oops: )
I am posting my very own M1915 EM leather strap for assessment:
Image
Image
Image
Image

As you can see, it has'nt stopped crumbling and I'd love to know if there's a way to slow down/delay its deterioration? (the same would apply to helmet liners I guess)

I will soon post my Stahlhelm Ersatz strap as well.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:51 am 
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Tony without Kaiser wrote:
Yes to your first question, but where did you hear that NCO story? Remember: every helmet on ebay is an NCO and at a show, every WWII German thing was removed from a dead SS officer.


And found in a barn! Don't forget the barn!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:16 pm 
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What/who was found in a barn?? The dead SS soldier or the German 'thing'? :D
Let's not forget the Vet pick-up as all eBay sellers seem to have relatives in the army who've taken part in either war, sometimes both AND the US Civil War :)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:47 pm 
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Nice M15 strap Ron...grey metal fittings and chunky buckles. The buckles on pre M15 straps are finer and of course brass or nickel depending on the wappen colour. Your strap shows the results of drying out...ie the leather fibres lose their natural oils dry out, and the finish starts to flake away. We also commonly see this on many liers. Ultimately, the leather starts to desintegrate which is known as "red rot" because the leather turns a rusty red colour. (Both Tony and I use a product called Lexol to add moisture to liners etc. They have both a cleaner and preservative available. Canuck Tire carries it I believe.) It litterally falls to dust in your hands. I will do some additional posts of strap pics tonight.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:33 pm 
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Thanks Brian. I miss places like Canadian Tire, Reno Depot/Rona, Wal-Mart, Costco, etc. here in Lebanon...
Would you apply this LEXOL everywhere that has leather (liners, straps and hauben?) Do you have to remove the metal fittings first to avoid contact with the product and an eventual chemical reaction or not?
In other words, how do I get my M15s to shine again without damaging the metal parts and what's the best way to stop the fungus (white spots/dots) accumulating on the liners? LEXOL again?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:22 pm 
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Liners and straps Ron for the Lexol. There is another product that I started with called Pecards but it is too greasy... very much like the old dubbin. DO NOT EVER apply Neats foot oil this rots the leather in time and will destroy anything leather. You really can't apply anything to the shell and visors although, when I first started collecting I ran into a collector who put vaseline on the outside of his helmet shells. It would be cool to see what shape those helmets are in now!! NOT!!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:27 pm 
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Some additional fotos of straps as promised:
A very nice original brass strap. Note how fine the buckles are with rounded edges and how thin the leather is..probably late 1914 early 1915 due to the thin leather. You can also so the faint parallel lines along the edge of the strap
Image
Reverse:
Image
A pre war strap with nickel plated fittings for those regiments with silver wappen:
Image
Again the buckles are much finer with rounded edges not big and square like the repros. I would say that most repro buckles are based on the M15 ie very thick and chunky!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:13 pm 
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With the price of haubes what they are , maybe a little vaseline would help? :tongue3:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:32 pm 
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Brian

This is an example of a replica chinstrap which is produced in the Czech Republic. The metal fittings all have this rather scaly finish to them, the leather is undyed, and of course, smells new. The nose, knows best sometimes. Interestingly the fit of the connectors is not the best, they often have to be filed a bit to slip over the posts. Not always though...

I have seen these for sale at the MAX and SOS, always being offered as reproductions.

Larry

ImageImage

ImageImage


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:29 pm 
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Hi Larry thanks for the pics. I had seen a company from the Czech Republic selling straps on Ebay, is this strap of yours from the same company?? To me, this repro strap is inside out. They have used the flesh side of the hide (very rough with fibres) rather than the hair side of the hide (smooth) to be seen from the outside. This was never done by the Germans....smooth side is always out and that is the side which is dyed black. I like their fittings though! Some close ups of a set of pre war brass buckles and an unusual but original M91 fitting. I have 2 sets of these "thicker" end fittings. One set came on an OR M95 Garde helmet strap. I would appreciate some additional pics of these thicker M91 fittings from other collectors to confirm this rarer style.
Image
Image
A last comment to our newer collectors... as you may have noted through helmets you have seen on Ebay or perhaps militaria shows, it is very common to have the M91 end fittings present on the side posts...usually just one, on a good day two. The buckles for the most part have been lost over time when the strap either broke or disintegrated. Thus we see complete original straps go for $250+ on Ebay. Consequently, we collectors have to accept the repro strap to complete our helmets for the most part unless you have the extra cash. We do not have to accept repro cockades as even the rare State ones can be found if you are patient.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:03 am 
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Brian, great thread, great tips, thanks for sharing and by all means please keep it coming!

And to add to your last comment, the strap I posted was bought less than a year ago from a friendly lady on eBay. She had a couple that were taken off some dismantled rotting pickelhaubes--or at least that was the story! More importantly they looked real, she knew what she was talking about (very precise & detailed description with good closeup pics) and she was willing to guarantee them for life. I got mine for $225 all in. which is the most expensive I ever paid on an old rotting piece of leather.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:20 pm 
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Well at $225, you got a bit of a deal. It is rough but at the same time it is all together. Welcome to the world of straps! Some close ups of buckles and M91 fittings: Nickel buckles (pre war)
Image nickel end fitting: Image
A couple of obvious repro brass buckles on a repro strap:
Image
I presume these were based on an original M15 buckle?? They just look bad compared to the originals!. Compare the original 100 yr old leather to the newly made leather. This repro leather strap is good in that it is not dyed on both sides nor does it have a pebbled finish.
There are more unusual private purchase straps out there, for example Mr Schnurr on a certain shako in your possession.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:00 am 
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A wartime strap just sold off eBay for $206.50.
It seems OK; isn't it?
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... MEWAX%3AIT

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:21 pm 
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Pictures are lousy Ron but it looks like a nice brass strap to me. Again you see those fine brass buckles! We have all heard about leather shortages in the German Army and how this effected chin straps etc:
This is the only partial strap that I have which shows "leather economy" and the use of split brad rivets to secure fittings. Again, any member who has further examples, please post some pics.
Image
Reverse Image
Image

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:40 pm 
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[quote="b.loree"] Some close ups of a set of pre war brass buckles and an unusual but original M91 fitting. I have 2 sets of these "thicker" end fittings. One set came on an OR M95 Garde helmet strap. I would appreciate some additional pics of these thicker M91 fittings from other collectors to confirm this rarer style.quote]

Brian, I've also owned two straps with the thicker brass fitting. Here's one of them which came with my square dip M16 Stahlhelm. The leather may look like it's rough side out, but that's due to the surface having largely flaked away.

Image

Here's one, again from a steel helmet, which has the ends of the strap riveted instead of sewn in place. I've seen quite a few of these, and from my experience they've always had brass fittings, never steel.
Image

Here are steel fittings from 3 wartime chinstraps which have their zinc coating relatively well preserved.
Image
Image

Excellent and very informative thread.

Hans


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:22 pm 
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One more picture showing a fake chinstrap with a "Otto Koch & Co. Berlin 1917" maker stamp. A large number of these fake chinstraps began showing up for sale as originals in the 90s. Most of them were as obvious as this one, but I've since seen a few that have been aged. (I should point out that original chinstraps and steel helmet leather liner pads etc. with this maker stamp do exist .)
Hans
Image


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:16 am 
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There used to be a fellow in Pennsylvania who made chinstraps. It seems he may have had a set of original tooling for the metal parts.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:22 am 
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Here are some other variations gentlemen...

Adler

Black M91
Image

Black M15
Image

Brown M15
Image

Black M15, ersatz leather with poor finish
Image

Black M15, ersatz leather with poor finish
Image

Green M15 (this goes along with the color of the green fittings of the helmet)
Image

Brown M15
Image

Brown M15, shiny finish
Image

Black M15, ersatz leather
Image

Canvas M91
Image

Papercloth M15
Image

M18
Image

Brown M15
Image

Dark brown M91
Image

Black ersatz, typical for this model only
Image

Rebuild chinscales
Image


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:31 pm 
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Nice helmets Adler. Very impressive!

I've been following this one on ebay for the past few days. Is it really authenthic as claimed by the seller? It looks good to me after closer inspection of all the other chinstraps posted here.

http://cgi.ebay.fr/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie ... K:MEWAX:IT

Best regards,

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:59 pm 
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Looks good to me after comparison too:
- Pre 1915 finer brass buckles
- Thicker (rarer) end M91 fittings
- Leather hair (smooth) side out / flesh (rough) side in / dyed on the outside only
- Hand stiched as it should be according to seller
Best of all, price is still enticing...

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:09 am 
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That is a sweet original strap. The repros do not have the thicker model of M91 end fitting that we have identified in our tutorial here. Plus look at the age cracks in the leather. Very nice.....dont get too excited Ron, it will probably go for the usual amount $200+

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm 
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b.loree wrote:
That is a sweet original strap. The repros do not have the thicker model of M91 end fitting that we have identified in our tutorial here. Plus look at the age cracks in the leather. Very nice.....dont get too excited Ron, it will probably go for the usual amount $200+


As often on ebay, the price will probably explode in the last minute :(

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 4:08 pm 
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Fortunately, the price did not explode in the last minute. I got this strap for 81 euros which equals $113 :D

Best regards,

Edwin


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:38 pm 
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Nice!! You could easily resell it for twice that amount on eBay US...

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:14 am 
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Gents, what do you think about this one?
Shouldn't the reverse be undyed (original brown leather color)?
What about those buckles and fittings?
This one seems to have fake written all over but I could be wrong... :?
Image
Image
Image
Image

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:11 pm 
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So what do you guys think of this last chinstrap... Am I right to think it's fake?

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:40 pm 
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I agree Ron. Looks like an artificially aged repro to me.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:36 am 
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This one is up for auction on ebay.fr:

http://cgi.ebay.fr/authentique-jugulair ... 27b9ec9cd8

Seller claims its authentic, and it looks ok to me.


Best regards,

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:05 am 
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The French strap....Put together....the buckles are different in thickness. One is the "fine" pre war variety with rounded edges and the other seems flat and thicker. The clincher though is that the end fittings do not match. We have one of the less common "thick" fittings paired up with the more usual cut out type. One of these fittings also looks brass to me and the other steel although this could be a light problem when the photo was taken. Leather does look good.
The other, strap pictured by Ron I agree is an artificially aged piece. Note the "rust" on the fittings especially the front buckle close up. This is light coloured new rust whch has been deliberately created. Old original rust has a much deeper colour to it. I always use this colour difference when I am looking at something suspicious. Iam going to post some additional strap pics soon.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:41 am 
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You're right Brian, the end fittings are different and this has nothing to do with the lighting otherwise they wouldn't look different in both close-ups... (the brass one is the thicker type)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 2:04 pm 
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Yes chaps I agree, this French strap is composed of different parts. Buckles are different like the end fittings. I did not study the pictures well enough the first time.

Best regards,

Edwin


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 Post subject: Ersatz Chinstrap
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:17 pm 
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I finally found the energy to properly shoot what I hope is an original ERSATZ chinstrap of mine... It has all the aspects of a replacement strap (cloth instead of leather and 'rough' chunky steel buckles & end fittings).
There's what seems to be a similar one on Kaiser's Bunker (http://www.kaisersbunker.com/feldgrau/h ... 16camo.htm).
What do you guys think?
Image
Image
Image
ImageImage
ImageImage
Image

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 Post subject: Re: The Leather Chin Strap
PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:18 am 
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Gents, what do you think of that Ersatz Chinstrap (previous post)?

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 Post subject: Re: The Leather Chin Strap
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:34 pm 
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I have one which has a bit thinner cloth, also darker although not as green as the picture suggests. I got it separate, hopefully it's good but who can tell - a cloth strap can been replaced easier than leather.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: The Leather Chin Strap
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:58 am 
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Thanks for the posts of the cloth straps guys. They both look good to me and I have never really had the chance to see some good pics of them before. Quite rare pieces in my estimation.

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 Post subject: Re: The Leather Chin Strap
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:07 am 
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I'm getting mixed reviews on my Ersatz strap... On the War Relics Forum, a moderator suggested it could be a post war Czech copy.
I therefore tested it under my little black light and it doesn't glow whatsoever... How old can it be dated back this way? The 40s or earlier?

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Last edited by RON on Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Leather Chin Strap
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:52 am 
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Hey ron,
The black light test is not definative, it only spots some of the modern threads, and can even be thrown off by modern detergents if the cloth has been washed. The best place to use it is to examine seams and stitching.
Best
gus

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 Post subject: Re: The Leather Chin Strap
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:29 am 
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This may be a question for another thread...but I figure it's a related subject. I mainly collect First war US, but have picked up a few spikes over the years. I've looked through Tony's info (by the way thanks..a lot of great info) but I couldn't find any info on any M15 gray painted officer's helmets. Did they make them? And if they did, what kind of chinstrap did they use? Was it leather or a variation of the M98 chinscales?

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 Post subject: Re: The Leather Chin Strap
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:13 am 
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The officer's M1915 helmets were the sam as the OR's from my experiance, but I think most officers continued to wear th earlier private purchase helmets. The one Officer's helmet I have is an M1915, it has the same chin strap as the OR's. the only difference is that it has officer's Kockarden and an inscription of the owner's name and rank in the liner.
Image
Best
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 Post subject: Re: The Leather Chin Strap
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:44 pm 
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Hey Gus,
From what I've learned, Officer M1915 Pickelhaubes were similar to the M1897 only upgraded with twist-off spikes, M91 posts as well as (officer) cockades and chinscales that would fit these posts.
Moreover, in the field, officers would replace their chinscales with regular (leather) chinstraps and cover/camouflage their helmets with Uberzugs so they wouldn't be distinguished/picked-up by the enemy.
There's a good example of an Officer M1915 pickelhaube on Kaiser's Bunker (where else? :) )

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 Post subject: Re: The Leather Chin Strap
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:24 pm 
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Right you are Ron, here is a link to that helmet http://www.kaisersbunker.com/feldgrau/helmets/fgh24.htm
I did not consider these to be true M1915 helmets, as the main reason for changing to the M15 was to replace the brass fittings with painted steel, because of the shortage of brass needed for shell casings.
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Gsu

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 Post subject: Re: The Leather Chin Strap
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:23 am 
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Thanks Gentlemen,

I knew I had seen an example, but could not remember where. And Gus, enjoyed your pix of the different 1st war .45's. When I get a chance I'll post my Springfield Armory and the Colt that I got in a officer's valise grouping. As well as my Great uncle's 77th Lost Battalion uniform group

Keith

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 Post subject: Re: The Leather Chin Strap
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:37 am 
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Hey Keith,
I think you are reffering to Lost Skeleton's .45s, they are exceptional, I do not think I have posted a photo of my one 1911, I will have to check.
Best
Gus

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 Post subject: Re: The Leather Chin Strap
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:26 am 
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Gus

You're right...having another senior moment

Keith

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 Post subject: Re: The Leather Chin Strap
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:26 am 
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Here are a few pics of chin strap ends and buckles. All recovered from dugouts over the years using a garden sieve.

You can see there are many variations of the 1891/5 pattern attachments and buckles. Some are cleaned and some are as found. Some are really crude in manufacture and some are very delicate.
The pics leave a lot to be desired, but it is 3 in the morning and I have had a few glasses of vin rouge :)
I really need to get this photography thing sorted out.

As you can see the pics confirm the genuine nature of the "thicker" 1891 ends mentioned by Brian (if there was ever any doubt) One point of interest though is the fact that one of these early attachments is twice as thick as the other. I tried to photograph this but with a flash as my only light and no stand, they were blurred, glary and of no value. Were these issued for use with the stahlhelm, or were they just a manufacturing diff? They do not fit on an 1895 stud, but they will fit the slightly longer 1891. However, there is no way a cockarde is going on there aswell. Maybe they were private purchase? I have no idea..it is very very heavy manufacture.

As I said all of these are 100% original, but some of them are so off center and poorly made I would call them fake or remakes if I saw them on a strap on ebay for example.

The pics are rubbish I know. I also have a few complete and partial straps I have found over the years. I gave up trying to photograph them, but I will get them posted as soon as possible.

A couple of interesting points about the straps I will mention. All the straps I have found that were assembled with stiching as opposed to a rivot, were stitched using only 3 holes. Some of the pics on here and some of the straps in my own collection have 4 or 5 holes. Is this just wartime economy, for speed of manufacture or just pure chance and it depended entirely on the chap with the needle in his hand? Also not all the ends on the straps I have found actually match. Most do, but on one example for sure, and on another that im pretty certain matches, the ends and buckles are actually different. Not by a lot, but enough to notice.

I have actually used a few of the ends that matched to remake straps for my own collection. I use old suitcase straps or similar, and if its to heavy, I use my wood lathe with a blank wrapped in 60 grit to thin it down. In my opinion they look far more pleasing than the repro straps on the market and atleast I know the fittings are 100% genuine. I can almost hear the purists groaning in the distance :lol: They make a far better stand in than all the repro straps I have seen, and when I replace them with an original, they move to the next helmet missing its strap. I will post a few pics of my remade straps at some point.

Image

1915 buckles at the top. See the diff. in thickness on the centre bars on most of the 1891/5 buckles. 3 in the middle are all very similar, the bottom row are all different, I think bottom right may well be private purchase? The 1915 pattern buckles at the top are all different, in size and shape

Image

Look how out of line the `V` notch on the top left one is, also the heavy early pattern 1891 mentioned by Brian in the top row, look how badly made it is. The one below it has a much wider slot for the leather strap. The second early pattern end on the bottom row is twice as thick as all the others. This is just a selection of the ends I have found over the years, but it serves to show the variety of manufacture in chinstrap metalwork.

Image

Just another slightly better pic of the 91/95 ends.


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