British Airtube Helmet Indian Mutiny Era

Peter_Suciu

Well-known member
Here is truly the "holy grail" of items for my collection. This is one of three known examples of the Ellwood and Sons "Airtube" or "Air Chamber" helmets. These were used by British officers of the HonourableEast India Company prior to and during the Indian Mutiny. The pattern fell out of use by the 1870s and were replaced by cork helmets. This example is made of felt and covered in a white clay. The shape is different from the later pith/sun helmets as it featured a Roman-style comb on thetop. This served as the vent - hence why it is called an airtubeor air chamber helmet. However this helmet also evoked theBritish cavalry helmets of the era. When Hawkes & Co. introduced the cork helmets these copied the Albert Pattern (as in Prince Albert) cavalry helmets that featured a plume on top.

 

Peter_Suciu

Well-known member
You can see the helmet to the left is the more classic "Zulu War Era" style helmet. Its shape is based on theAlbert Pattern cavalry helmets. Had Prince Albert not designed that helmet it is likely the Roman style airtubehelmets would have been adopted by the British Army.

 

Peter_Suciu

Well-known member
As the helmet might have looked worn by a British officer.
William Stephen Raikes Hodson, founder of Hodson’s Horse, wearing a crested Ellwood’s helmet c1850s

 

Peter_Suciu

Well-known member
Thanks Tony! I had to sell my American WWI experimental helmet collection to fund this. I know the helmet isn't exactly pretty, but no one said the Holy Grail would like pretty!
 

stuka f

Well-known member
Thanks for sharing!
First one I see.
Peter did you notice the extra pic's I added regarding the Belgian Congo police fez?
 

Peter_Suciu

Well-known member
The clay isn't on real thick. Enough to give the felt body some support. The helmet is large however. And you can see it resembles the French and British cavalry helmets of the era. This is still based on the Greeco-Roman designs. I think this would have been the shape of British sun helmets had Prince Albert not designed the Albert Pattern Cavalry Helmet, which the British still basically wear with the Household Cavalry.
 
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