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 Post subject: Love of hopeless causes?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:41 pm 
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Hi all

Really need some help on this one. Ill give a run down of my thoughts then follow it up with a lot of pics and my questions. If anyone has any info that can help or can see a problem with my reasoning please help me out. I dont know if there is a limit on the number of pics we can post here, so if I go over a limit, please feel free to remove them and shout at me :)

I acquired this a few weeks ago off ebay. Some of you may have seen it. I bought it as a parts helmet, as it seemed to me that was what it was, a private purchase shell, with various parts thrown at it so the seller could try their luck. I wasnt under any illusions, it looked like a wreck. In fact I didnt open the box for a couple of weeks when I recieved it, I just stuck it in the spare parts bin.

Anyway, when I actually got to open the box, sometime after christmas, I was actually pleasantly surprised. It seems to me that most of the fittings are actually off the helmet. On the ebay pics, you can clearly see that all the brads have been replaced with either paper clips or some flat topped brads, which I know I have seen before, but cant remember where. However, the wappen has left a deep ghost on the helmet, even down to the tabs for the reserve cross. The spike base likewise. Not sure about the screw posts, though they are original period parts. The wappen and rear spine are fastened with the correct nuts and washers (see pics) and the brad at the rear spine base had not been disturbed indicating the rear visor was original to the spine.

The front visor was held to the shell with 3 paper clips, but the stiching holes on helmet and visor match exactly (yes I counted them, I have a lot of pins) Same with the rear visor, so Im pretty sure that spine is original to the shell. The cockard ghosts are clear and measure 53mm.

The wappen has lost the scepter and eagle and one arm of the reserve cross is missing. The spike base had what is obviously a totally original, special issue, low profile, observation balloon popping device soldered to it!! That solder will take some removing :x It seems to have always been attached to the shell with round brads, not stars, even though the perlring is officer pattern, judging by the well defined shadowing they have left behind.

Anyway the more I looked the more I felt I could actually restore this, rather than break up what seems to me to be a mostly original helmet.

Stupidly I didnt take any pics before I started the job, so I have had to copy the ebay pics to give some idea of its original condition. So far I have managed to repair the huge split, that ran almost all the way around where the spike mounted and the crack that ran down the side of the shell. The repair is invisible from the outside and almost invisible from the inside, so Im very happy with the end result. There is a little more staining to the leather now, than you can see on the ebay pic, but it was already stained. I cant take a pic, as the shell is still being reshaped on a former but I will if people are interested. I have restitched the liner, in a small area I was forced to use a water based glue as the liner was so weak it wouldnt take a stitch. I have also nearly finished restitching the front visor and plugging the holes left by the paper clips that held it on. I havnt used any filler on the shell or visor..I used a warm ironing technique. There is still a lot of work left on the shell, including the rear visor, but its coming along.

I de-soldered the observation balloon popper and what I found underneath was the original round solder plate from the spike. In this case it looks to me to be from a ball rather than a spike. I managed to get it to unscrew from the base, so whatever should go there, can now screw back, when I have finished removing all that solder that some idiot put there :x

Ok here are my questions. Ill do the questions then put up the pics.

1. Firstly, the wappen. The wappen itself seems to me to be original. It took very little cleaning to bring it back. A quick wash with a very mild acid and a buff up with a dry cloth left it looking as you see it in the pics. I didnt use any polish at all. My concerns with the wappen are, the positioning of the reserve cross. It seems very high. Instead of using 2 holes and the gaps in the feathers, they used 4 holes. The top of the cross is right under the FR. Also the cross itself. It has been struck off center. This dosnt seem right to me. Having said that, the cross and the wappen have been together for a very long time. Is it possible that this cross is a very old re strike / fake, or have any of you encountered a cross like this? I have an original to replace it at any rate, but I would rather leave this one there if its correct. What are peoples overall opinion on the wappen. I think its real, but would like some reassurance.

2. The spike base. Its an officer type with dart and ball perlring. If you look at the pics after I removed the spike, you can see the base of what looks to be a kugel. I think its safe to assume that this base was originaly fitted with a ball and not a spike. Does anybody violently disagree with this?
Also Im pretty certain the helmet is an Eigentum, possibly for an unteroffizier mit portepee? Mainly because of the cockard shadows at 53MM. Its not an officer helmet. The shadowing on the spike base shows it never had stars, but where reserve regiments eligable for parade plumes? Also, could this rank opt for this style perlring, if worn with round brads? There is no indication in the helmet of what regiment it is from. Sadly if any paper labels where there they are now gone. There is a name written, but until it comes off the former I cant picture it. The helmet was for defo, fitted with a private purchase spike, as shown by the deep mark it has left behind, but is it likely or probable to have been this one?

3. Finally, the side posts. I think these are not original to this helmet. I think they were more likely fold back rosettes judging from the marks inside the helmet.

Here are the pics..Im sorry for rambling on for so long, but if Im restoring something, I like to restore it, not make it up. If I cant arrive at atleast a very likely consensus on this one, then it will be consigned to the spares bin despite all the work I have done.
Any info, any input and any advice will be very much appreciated. Also any parts for trade or sale, though Im sure thats a tall order :D

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Lots and lots of work to do, the wrong ball, but an over all idea..am I on the right track?

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Once again sorry for the overload post.


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 Post subject: Re: Love of hopeless causes?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:41 pm 
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Very nice! The plate (and all) cleaned up beautifully. Hopeless causes? Turning down a challenge is like leaving a lost puppy out in the rain... on the railroad tracks... with a train coming... without a water dish.

:D Ron

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 Post subject: Re: Love of hopeless causes?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:51 pm 
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Never could resist a puppy on a train track :) still a lot of work to go before its finished. Was looking at Kaisers bunker, and spotted a similar helmet. Could this actually be an 1860 officer pattern after all? has many of the same features it seems.


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 Post subject: Re: Love of hopeless causes?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:11 pm 
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A very interesting helmet to restore. I always envy the patience of collectors who are able to revive seemingly hopeless cases.

Regards,

Edwin


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 Post subject: Re: Love of hopeless causes?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:15 pm 
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This is a pre-1880 helmet, because of this typical liner at this period. Yes, obviously a helmet for a one year volunteer which became Officer-Aspirant in the Reserve, and not officer because there are no stars on the spike base. Side posts do not belong to this helmet! Only chinscales with fold back rosettes, as you wrote, and only one old pattern prussian officer cockade (with only one single silver ring) at the right side of helmet.
I have a similar helmet of the same period, but worn by an Offizier der Reserve.
Philippe :salute:

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 Post subject: Re: Love of hopeless causes?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:21 pm 
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Thanks Philipe!!

You are a life saver. I have been going round and round with this. The only thing I will say is that there are 2 cockade shadows. A later upgrade perhaps or a collector add on?
These pics will help me greatly and Im pleased you confirmed my thoughts on the side posts.
What do you think on the cross btw?

Andy


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 Post subject: Re: Love of hopeless causes?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:31 am 
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Andy,
I see no problems with the position of your reserve cross on this helmet and its 4 holes. The same method as on my Haube.
Concerning cockade(s), yes, maybe a later upgrade, after 1897 or some "collectors fun".... However, you need a prussian EM pattern cockade for this helmet (the old pattern with small hole at the center for split prongs of the rosettes and without silver ring, because the guy who wore this helmet still not was an officer).But if you decide to upgrade this helmet to officer, you just need 4 officer stars and the same old officer pattern cokade as on my helmet.
Philippe :salute:

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 Post subject: Re: Love of hopeless causes?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:06 am 
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I wont upgrade it, I`m certain stars were never fitted to this base. If they ever were it was a long long time ago. Also the front visor is uncovered leather. I know it dosnt really follow that all officers had both visors covered, but my thinking is that a slightly lower quality private purchase helmet with no evidence of stars is more likely to have been aspirant or possibly unteroffizier mit portepee.
If he was an unteroffizier, might that explain the high quality fittings, or is the perlring too much for that rank? I have both types of cockade in my spares box, but I want to fit the most probable.


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 Post subject: Re: Love of hopeless causes?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:42 am 
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The wearer of your helmet was certainly an OYV and as such, he had the money to buy himself a better helmet with such fittings as pearls and dards on the spike neck, green and red visors and unscrewable spike. Those fittings are telling nothing about the rank of wearer!
Only stars and cockades are showing the rank. I think your helmet must have a single prussian cockade at the right side (old pattern with small hole) if the wearer went into the reserve as an OR (other ranks) or aspirant NCO (aspirant to non commissional officer). But if he became officer aspirant in the reserve, after many sessions and tests, he could then become a Vize-Feldwebel (Portepee Unteroffizier) after several years. Then he could have worn the same cockade as on my helmet. (Offiziere and Portepee Unteroffiziere wore the same pattern of cokade with single silver ring until about 1880).
Look at that link:
http://www.pickelhauben.net/articles/ne ... unteer.htm
Philippe :salute:

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"Laechle und sei froh, denn es koennte schlimmer kommen!" - Und ich lächelte und war froh - Und es kam schlimmer..."


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 Post subject: Re: Love of hopeless causes?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:49 pm 
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Thanks again Philippe

And a useful article also. Think Im fairly satisfied that its a OYV . Now all I need to source is a set of chin scales.

Your input has been really helpful, especially on the wappen, which I was worried about.

The restoration is coming on nicely and now Im happy that Im not making something from nothing. I will post a few more pics when its finished.

Andy


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