My only Raupenhelm

If it has a wool or hair "comb' on tnhe top, its a Raupenhelm

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seagull
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My only Raupenhelm

Post by seagull » Sat Oct 03, 2020 10:50 am

Bought this from an old dealer back in (I think) 2003, flattened like a burst football. It has lived ever since on a shelf with a plastic bag full of crunched up newspaper inside, slowly giving it back something of its form. Don't think I could use Brian's method of soaking the leather and re-forming on a 'head' since it is completely lined with cloth. The front visor is quite loose with no stitching remaining- see holes pierced into it- and the rear is completely missing - again, see two lines of stitching holes there. The leather of the skull is frighteningly thin and dry, and I suspect the lining material is mainly responsible for it holding together. I have never disassembled it and, having never seen another, still don't know it's origins. Anyone seen one of these before? or is it a (Really old) stage piece? If so then it was very well put together back then, whenever that was.
Cheers,
Steve
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Re: My only Raupenhelm

Post by b.loree » Sat Oct 03, 2020 2:08 pm

The liner and green covered visor would indicate an officer helmet. James and others have raupenhelmes so they will provide more information.
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Re: My only Raupenhelm

Post by seagull » Tue Oct 20, 2020 11:46 am

Thanks Brian,
James has confirmed to me that it is certainly not Bavarian and, in fact, I really doubt it is from any of the German States- there is no sign that cockades were ever fitted. I suspect it could be Belgian or perhaps from the Netherlands but have exhausted the internet with numerous searches, finding nothing that looks like this. That totally blank front plate (which has never had anything on it) certainly doesn't help. Maybe I will have to bite the bullet and disassemble it, to see if there are any markings anywhere.
Thanks again,
Steve

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Re: My only Raupenhelm

Post by Sergei1877 » Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:22 pm

A very strange helmet. Could it be for movie props or for theater?

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Re: My only Raupenhelm

Post by Schiavona13 » Thu Oct 22, 2020 4:33 pm

seagull wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 11:46 am
I suspect it could be Belgian or perhaps from the Netherlands but have exhausted the internet with numerous searches, finding nothing that looks like this.
Its not Dutch and not Belgian
Searching for Dutch helmets , swords and medals

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Re: My only Raupenhelm

Post by seagull » Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:39 am

Sergei: I did wonder in my OP if it might be a really old stage piece but all the individual parts seem genuinely made and genuinely old, possibly pre WW1? In this regard I have to say that it would provide no protection as a helmet whatsoever, the leather is very thin and the metal parts are just as thin, but then many 'ceremonial' pieces are just like that: made to look good in a parade and not much else! Also, if made for stage use, why the completely blank front plate? Surely stage (or film) work would need something a little more photogenic ?
Schiavona: Many thanks for that info, I have spent days on the internet looking for Dragoon-type helmets from ANY nation and found only that the German states predominate there. Don't get me wrong, I make no special claims for this helmet but it puzzles me that I cannot find ANYTHING that looks like it, not in books, not on the internet, nowhere, and even dealer friends just scratch their heads!
Thanks,
Steve
Edit: now I turn towards Spain/Portugal/South America - in hope!

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Re: My only Raupenhelm

Post by SkipperJohn » Fri Oct 23, 2020 11:22 am

I think this Raupenhelm may be Swiss. I found one on the internet that looks quite similar, from Switzerland, that has the high standing Raupe on a brass base. There was a front plate on the one I found. The lion was not present on this helmet, but it was close in all other respects.

John :?

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Re: My only Raupenhelm

Post by aicusv » Fri Oct 23, 2020 12:28 pm

All I can add to this is; This style of helmet was popular with many nations for about 80 years during the 19th century. Looking at the construction of this one, I would think it is from the later part of this period. It was very common with cavalry units. This style is still worn today by the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry (Alpha Troop, 104th Cavalry Regiment, 28th Division is part of the Pennsylvania National Guard).
1835 helmet
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modern one.

Note the method of holding the ends of the chin strap, this is the old method. The male / female method came into use later on.
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Re: My only Raupenhelm

Post by seagull » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:43 am

SkipperJohn: Thanks for that pointer, can you point me to a source? I get nothing like this for Switzerland on my internet searches.
Aicusv: Yes, I agree latter half of 19th C rather than earlier. The stitching on the rim of the peak and to the rear of the skull is definitely machine done, supporting that contention. Also the headband is a drawstring through essentially a 'tube' of what looks like leathercloth rather than the 'fingers' of real leather we see on Haube's, so demonstrating an approach quite different to the German method. I have just realised that, despite the Lion, the lack of a front badge/monogram may indicate a nation without a monarchy - though plenty of republics employ a national coat of arms. Nothing at all has ever been mounted on that front plate. This weekend I plan to carefully take it apart in the search for clues. will post what I get as soon as possible. Thanks everyone for taking a look.
Steve

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Re: My only Raupenhelm

Post by SkipperJohn » Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:35 pm

Here are a couple of sites I used when I was attempting to figure out what this Raupenhelm was. None of the helmets match the one you have, but the Swiss ones appear to be the closest. Your helmet seems to have a Swiss type Raupe but more of a Swedish type front plate.
Also, the Swiss ones I found all have a rear visor. It appears yours does not.

https://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/ ... 2e14801b63

https://kesslerauktionen.ch/wp-content/ ... ogch18.pdf

https://www.hermann-historica.de/en/auc ... egory/1239

Additional info supporting the Swedish side:

https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/decor ... lsrc=aw.ds

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/67 ... oon-helmet

I believe that yours is a Dragoon helmet, but where it's from is anybody's guess.

John :?

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Re: My only Raupenhelm

Post by seagull » Mon Oct 26, 2020 9:50 am

Thanks for the links John. I see the resemblances in both Swiss and Swedish cases but the comb is wrong for the Swiss and the Swedish front plate extends all the way down to become the peak - which mine does not. Mine also has no rear visor because it is missing, the two lines of stitching there show where it once was but I have no idea of the correct shape. Found some time today to take it apart as much as possible and found no markings or stampings anywhere, just a horrible abundance of once liquid brass polish EVERYWHERE! It will take me a day to remove it all. (Really bad) pictures below but, first, a few observations.
1. The chinstrap is set on so that you cannot open the catch, the whole strap is simply fixed on too tightly to be opened as usual by raising it up the skull to gain some slack. the buckle behind it was properly fastened but the leather tongue is only about an inch and a half long, nowhere near long enough to actually function as a practical chinstrap. This chinstrap is real enough, made, and fitted, exactly as per a Haube but it seems to be decorative ONLY, unless some sort of leather 'extension was added to lengthen it?, but even if that was the case you STILL can't get enough 'play' to open it up and add the 'extra' strap.
2. The comb comes off after the central nut is removed. There is a very small split pin at the bottom end of the comb to pass through a hole in the back of the skull but the hole in the leather is crumbling away and it does not hold. The comb itself is brass outside with a thin sheet tin or steel inner core where the bolt is mounted. The three circular 'bosses' on each side of the comb are not embossed but seperate dome headed split pins passing through the sides. The whole comb is very solid and well made. The thick felted woollen Roach on the top is sewn into holes on the top with a coarse hemp-like string - some stitches gone but still holding quite well.
3. There are two types of stitching inside the skull (for both visors and the headband) : black in large diagonal stitches which in some places passes over lines of smaller horizontal (machine?) stitches in white. These are all concealed under the headband in its correct position and REALLY hard to photograph. Naturally the black looks older but it is hard to know for certain and the stitches where the rear visor used to be may not actually be functional all the way through.
4. The headband is, I think, oilcloth, very dirty but holding together well and there is a silk braided ribbon running through it.
5. I have not taken off the front plate as I am wary of breaking the large split pins. Besides, the brass is very thin so any stampings on the reverse would show through to the front and there are no signs of that.

I had a long conversation with a friend who is a curator at the Royal Armouries and he suggested contacting the Royal Army Museum as they are responsible for holding the uniforms and 'costume' element of the National collections. I am now thinking 'Clean and consolidate' rather than attempting some uninformed restoration work on that missing rear visor, at least until I can ID it with certainty.
If I get anywhere with my inquiries I will update this post, meantime thanks everyone who has commented, it is appreciated.
Steve.
Edit: Just remembered, there are the remains of what looks like buff coloured paper inside the skull in the last picture. I think this may have been a label- now long gone.
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Re: My only Raupenhelm

Post by seagull » Thu Nov 05, 2020 9:29 am

Well, an enquiry to the National Army Museum generated this reply:
" Having looked at the images in detail the helmet in question does bear some similarities to that of a British heavy cavalry helmet from the Napoleonic Wars however I do not think that it is a British example as there does not appear to be any evidence of the insignia that was worn on British helmets at this time. The evidence of machine stitching would as you indicate suggest a later date, when this style of helmet was no longer used by the British Army. It is of course possible that there have been later adaptions to an original helmet either for repairs or alterations to make it look older for use in military pageants however without detailed provenance this would be very difficult to prove.

It is difficult for me to suggest a nationality as I would not claim to be an expert on headwear, however I would probably consider Italian, American or Canadian as possibilities worth some investigation.
"

So, not a lot of help but at least I now know it is definitely not British , but I think I already knew that.
Likewise, if it were USA or Candian I think at least one of our members here would have jumped on that so, from the above suggestions, that just leaves Italian - an area I have already exhaustively researched on the net, without result. The suggestion about pageants struck a chord, so I found pages 214-216 in Jan Kube's book where he says that there were numerous such celebrations of anniversaries of great past events, and that uniforms/helmets were produced in numbers for parades etc. Below a picture from page 215 of that book illustrating an example of such a celebration in Bavaria (hope I am not breaking copyright here?). Obviously the participants here were pretty much the upper echelons of society, so their outfits are made 'no expense spared', but if the 'celebrities' were followed by squadrons of 'other ranks' then their equipment may have been made to a lesser standard - such as I have here? The possibility of it being made for a pageant or parade in the latter half of the 19th century certainly does now seem quite feasible so, until I know better, I will go with that. The disassembled helmet provided no clues in terms of marks/numbers etc but about five hours of cleaning removed all of the Brasso metal polish residue from the metal parts - the crazing of the leather made it impossible to get all of it off the skull. It is now back together and in its place on the shelf, where it will remain. I will not be disassembling it again as the potential for heart attacks when bending split pins straight is too much for me! Any further suggestions for its origins from the more hawk-eyed amongst us would, of course, be much appreciated, meantime thanks everyone who has looked in on my mystery Raupe.
Steve.
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