Ersatz Bing Bros.

Steve Nick

Well-known member
Here is a Pickelhaube I've had for many years and one I've chosen to hold onto throughout the down-sizing of my collection. It's not particularly rare but it's a nice example of the early efforts to fabricate Pickelhaubes with materials other than leather.

It is marked (stencil painted) to the 21st Bavarian Infantry Regiment (“Grand Duke Friedrich Franz von Mecklenburg-Schwerin”) The helmet is marked 1915 and was made by Bing Brothers of Nuremburg, a well established and popular toy manufacturer, under a contract let in October 1914.

The design was meant to replicate as far as practical, an 1895 pattern helmet while making use of tin as a base material. Consequently, in addition to there being no interior spike base reinforcing plate, the rear reinforcing spine was eliminated. All stitching operations required to secure the front and rear visors as well as the attachment of the liner were eliminated. The liner installation was accomplished by adding eight split pins.

The Bavarian NCO kokarde I think would have been added in the field. Unlike leather issue helmets there is felt material inside the liner band. The Wappen is secured with two split pins passed through rectangular slots.

The spike base is secured with four split pins although there is no interior spike base reinforcing plate as found in leather helmets.

The rear visor is trimmed with a metal band unlike leather helmets, probably as a means of finishing what would otherwise have been a raw metal edge.

For some reason I’ve never figured out, this helmet like many other war souvenir helmets seems to have been left lying around when someone was painting and the resultant white over-spray is all over the inside of the helmet.

Hope you find this of interest.


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A nice one 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

I have been looking for one of those in good condition for a while. The search is still going....

There are quite a few around but very often quite badly battered, with parts missing.


I had another Ersatz tin helmet that was also in very good shape. Not made by Bing and with a Prussian Line plate on it. All black with the exception of the Wappen. No idea who it was made by. I let it go during the "downsizing".

I figured if I was only going to keep one example of the use of tin as an Ersatz solution to increasing helmet production this one was the one to keep.


Did some of these "Tin" helmets have black painted spikes? Years ago I had one with a bayonet type spike painted black. I passed it on because of the spike.
Yes it had a black spike.

The Prussian example I referred to was entirely black with the exception of the Wappen and the M91 posts. No rear spine The Spike wasn't removable.
Yes, the Bing and Weissenburger are not "Ersatz" because they were the subject of an official contract with the army. The Bings were only for the Bavarian Army, and the bindings were only by lingues or folding legs. Here is mine with a Reserve-Landwehr plaque.


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And since we are on BING-Nuremberg I would like to take this opportunity to show you an extremely rare BING in black varnished boiled cardboard.
This is a model 15, retractable tip still with the folding latch fasteners. All fittings are gold-plated steel when it should be zinc-gray.
Notice the sheepskin headdress with a perforated band at the front. This model must have been a test model from BING because it is very rare and no longer corresponds to the standard of the 1914 contract.

This model, although rare, is nevertheless known and accepted. The Teller is marked the same as on sheet metal bombs.


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I know of 2 helmets for sale like yours, but not made by Bing. One is a Saxon, the other a Prussian one. Both were made from the same material as your Bing example. That varnished boiled cardboard was known as Pappe those day's.
Yes, from 1914, materials other than leather are observed. We see them in felt, in canvas cork, in canvas or varnished Pappe, in vulkanized fiber, in steel sheet, in brass sheet, in duralumin sheet, etc ...
What makes it so rare here is that Bing was a manufacturer of tin utensils and toys, therefore dependent on metallurgy, like Junker or others for cuirassier helmets. Astonishing therefore to have made some in cardboard.
Very interesting, I have never seen a wartime OR’s liner with those perforations/holes along the rim of the liner. We have seen Officer liners (post war??) with these holes though. There is always something new in this hobby 😊
Yes, the ventilation perforations are generally seen on "post" WW1 caps, in particular for firefighters. For the WW1 period, this type of cap is exclusive on the peak helmets of this BING production in cardboard or vulcanized fiber, excluding those in sheet metal. Here are identical headdresses from 2 others known in France.



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