Prussian Line Cuirassier EM Model 1809

d99wipe

New member
Hello all, and sorry for the necropost! It's just that this subject is nothing that crops up often enough to be able to jump into a thread while it is still fresh.. Well, I bring some more evidence to compensate!


I have a 1809 cuirassier helmet of the GdC which is very early. It is a mannschaft as it does not have the fire-gilding and it should be from 1808 or 1809 as it does not have the chinstrap yet. It has the provisions for a detachable rosshaarkamm. The entire thing would come off and was attached with a screw. No evidence of sewing.

It shows a number of interresting differences from that of SkipperJohn, I wonder how much is due to the difference in rank, variations in manufacture or difference in age.

It is in fantastic condition apart from the missing liner and rosshaarkamm, and was found here in Sweden. I am thinking that it was stolen by some dastardly swede pretty soon after they reached the regiment. Maybe during a post-exercise helmet pickup. :)

The missing rosshaarkamm doesn't really bother me as the helmet is externally complete for a helmet of this type in field configuration.

Sorry for the somewhat blurry pictures.. It looks more dusty and the metal more tarnished than it is in reality.

Edit: Replaced photobucket links due to blurring, and urge all to do the same!



https://photos.app.goo.gl/EBc3qTSB1YfpmGEF8
 

SkipperJohn

Active member
It is that old. I believe that it was actually made in 1809. I did not put this in the original post because I have not verified it through multiple sources, but there is one source that says that the original Model 1809 helmet (they call it a Model 1808) had a horsehair plume that was worn on parade. It says that the plume was worn only on parade until 1810 after which it was worn at all times. The Raupe is obviously not removable, but on the reverse side of the Raupe support on this helmet there is a brass loop. This loop is part of the support and appears to serve no function whatsoever. It could be the attachment for a separate horsehair plume which would hang down in the front to about the midpoint of the Adler. In 1810 and later models there is no "parade plume" per se. It seems that there was just more horsehair sewn in at the front of the Raupe. I saw a later version of this helmet dismantled once and there was no brass loop and just longer hair in the front. Period paintings show both long and short hair versions.

The source stating this is not my favorite, and more often than not I don't trust them, but it does provide an idea.
If it is true, the likelihood that I will ever find an original parade plume is non-existent.
If I did find one, that would be the day that I would buy my first lottery ticket!

John :)

Outstanding addition d99wipe! :thumb up: This helps the research quite a bit. I had researched the detachable Raupe (Rosshaarkamm) as I mentioned in the above quote, but I can now see that the references were probably referring to removal of the entire Raupe. That would make mine a Model 1809 made between 1810 and 1813.

The most unusual aspect with regards to your helmet is that there is no provision for chinscales. I cannot imagine this helmet being worn without a chin strap of some sort. It would surely fall off when riding a horse. The early Russian 1803 Model that these helmets were patterned after had chinscales. I cannot find any reference to these being made without chinscales. Do you have an available reference to when chinscales were adopted by the Prussian Kurassiers?

Beautiful helmet!

Thanks,
John :)
 

d99wipe

New member
I begin with apologizing for all the duplicate information in my reply, I wrote before I read.

The thing about the chinstrap is in here, amongst a wealth of good information:

http://www.reenactorforum.waszmann.de/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1091532153/0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

You can find a catalogue entry on page 2 that seems to be your helmet!

in Pietsch's "Archiv für waffen und uniformkunde", published in the last few posts of this thread, you can read in the bottom half of the first column of page 2 (well, numbered 139) that an order replaced the previous leather "sturmriemen" with brass chinscales (schuppenkette) on the 10th of january 1810. What the sturmriemen looked like it does not say, but these, and all evidence of them are anyway also missing on mine. Maybe they were attached to the liner?

There is another interresting piece of evidence in Pietsch's article, in the 4th page there is a picture of an m1809 with schuppenketten. It's schuppenketten is fastened in an unusual fashion. It looks like the usual way of putting the kette high on the helmet came from experience, trying to counter the top-heaviness of the piece. The first few years they seem to have put the chin strap like one would for other hats and helmets, at the bottom. I think that the helmet in the picture is a proper 1810 piece rather than an updated pre-1810 one as it also has the permanently attached kamm (as ordered on 22 jan 1810). So they probably were manufactured like that for a while.

The helmet that dragoner08 published, the Mutius-helmet, has a lot in common with mine, detachable kamm, non green visor and the rivet for the visor slighly toward the front. It has the kette up high, but I think, as ketten and non-detachable kamme came in at the same time, that this is a later update.

The reason, by the way, that I can say for sure that mine is a mannschaft helmet is that the GdC officers wore an enamelled silver GdC star. The one thing that set the non-GdC officer helmets apart from their mannschaft counterparts, before the advent of the schuppenkette and thereby the Kokarde, was the gilded front plate as opposed to the brass one, which makes it tricky to tell them apart. But mine has none of the golden gleam that yours has.

While on the subject of materials, I do believe that they were made of russian leather, Juchten in german. It was the toughest and best leather around, made with seal and birch oil, which may account for the birch tar theory. You can find juchten in seats from the 18th century that looks like the day the chair was delivered.

Your helmet is really fantastic, seeing the liner intact is almost unheard of, it was very fragile. And it is in the proper configuration for the battles in which they were used, while mine was outdated by then. and the flat chinscales places it before 1815, so it is unlikely to be a post-war piece. It strikes me how russian it looks. Its like they started out making something a little uniquely prussian only to end up in an almost exact copy. It's like somebody said "enough already, the russians designed them, they know how they should work, lets just copy them!". But maybe the prussians just learned the same lessons as the russians and ended up with a similar design for that reason.

As you can see from photos everywhere, the front part of the kamm should be pretty droopy, it would be interresting to have a look to see why yours isn't! It doesnt seem to have shrunk. Maybe it has taken a sabre slash? :)

I guess if we found a date for the green colour under the visor and for the topwards move of the rosettes, we might be able to date your helmet pretty accurately!

It is interresting that the leather comb is low on yours, I wonder why. Might that be an officer thing? The Mutius helmet seems to have a high comb like mine, so the lower one must have come in at some later point.
 

SkipperJohn

Active member
I read the website attached to your post and the Model 1809 with the lower mounted Schuppenkette is pictured earlier in this thread and again here:



This is the only reference that I have ever seen that shows this type of Schuppenkette mounting on these helmets. All other references that I have seen show the higher mounting. This photo also shows the difference in comb height as new versions of this helmet were produced. Practically every reference points out that the leather comb got taller and the hair Raupe got shorter as time went on. This was not an officer peculiarity but based more on the helmet's year of manufacture. The Model 1809 in the photo also shows a permanently attached Kamm, as you mentioned. I might offer another theory: I would suppose that it is possible that my helmet also had a detachable Kamm at one point which was sewn in permanently when the order changed. I can see no evidence of a screw that would have held in the Kamm on my helmet. Where is this screw located???

I mentioned information in this thread earlier about the existence of a "parade plume" and that my helmet had an attachment loop on the back side of the comb protector. This may have held an additional hair attachment that hung down in the front. I can find no other use for it. It is more likely that I am just missing some of the Raupe or that it was cut short in the front at some point.

I also saw the ad from the Kube auction that shows my helmet. To my knowledge Kube never owned this helmet. The person I purchased it from knows Kube but I don't think it came from him. Perhaps it was advertised in multiple places.

I believe, at this point, that mine is an officer's helmet. Looking at all of the information provided which says that the officer and enlisted front plates were identical except that the officers plates were gilded, leads me to believe that this is an officers helmet, because the front plate is definitely gilded. Interestingly enough Kube advertised it as a Mannschaft helmet.

Since these helmets were all handmade by multiple manufacturers from 1808/9 well into the 1830's, finally going out of service in 1842, it is likely that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of differences that can be found in existing examples. What a wonderful hobby!

John :D
 

d99wipe

New member
I was wrong regarding he screw, I thought the screw holding the front plate went all the way through the comb. It doesn't. The comb was affixed through holes in the sides of the comb, much like the thread in your case, only that there are only two pairs of holes. One just by the brass front edge and one where it starts curve frontwards (where the "durchschoss" is on the mutius helmet if I understand it correctly, very flimsy!). At the bottom there is a notch where the middle layers of leather stop just short of the neck guard. Mine does not have the neck guard slot that yours has.

I also noticed that there are holes for extra rivets around the visor rivets, like there has been a smaller rivet that was obscured by the larger one. It also looks like there is a faint depression where a half-inch leather chinstrap may have run.

It is difficult to do meaningful statistics with so few helmets around of any description. We have mine, the Mutius, the Pietsch with the low mounted schuppenketten, the Kube m1809 and the Kube Oldenburg which is not really the same thing, altough it also has the low mounted Schuppenketten.

Here is another one, with a steel bow to keep the kamm straight like on newer specimens:
http://www.historicalimagebank.com/gallery/v/album02/album31/GS36d_Prussian_Kurassier_helmet_pattern_of_1809_psd.jpg.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And another one with the convex schuppenketten, difficult to say anything about it as they may be added later. Maybe the visor rivet is centered?:
http://www.militarytrader.com/wp-content/uploads/4774-6001-1-W-copy.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Your's has a lot of features that are not in evidence among any of the other helmets. The low leather comb, the green front visor, rearward (well, centered) visor rivet and a slightly flaired comb front without a rivet through. As the green visor is carried forward it seems logical that mine and the Mutius which both have brown inner visors are earlier. As the other helmets of which we know nothing of the insides share the other features with these two early helmets, I'm thinking that yours is the most modern of the bunch.

Still, that doesn't narrow the dating range from 1810-1815 nor make it certain. It is not unreasonable to believe that most surviving helmets would be early. Most of them are officers versions (mine is the only exception, it seems), logically, as officers would have had a greater affinity and opportunity to keep them. Officers tend to stay in the service for longer and the officer corps to be more static. So a lot of the officers serving at the end of the napoleonic wars would have been around when the early helmets came out, gotten one of them and stuck with it.

So, a timeline may be, with great uncertainty due to the possibility of later updates:
* Mine 1808-1809: out of service before the schuppenketten

* Mutius 1808-1809: Got the schuppenketten, probably as an addition as it still has a detachable comb. Was in service after the schuppenketten was ordered. The high mount may be due to the addition happening long after the order came out.

* The Pietsch and maybe Kube Oldenburg, 1810-1815: postdate the previous as they have the permanently affixed comb with low mounted schuppenketten. I think these predate the high mounted ketten as those were carried forward (and more practical!). Unknown inside visor colour, oldenburg with unknown comb brass front details.

* The Kube m1809 and the historicalimagebank, 1810-1815: Permanently affixed comb and high mounted schuppenketten. Unknown inside visor colour, the Kube with unknown comb brass front and the historicalimagebank with comb supports. I take the comb supports as a much later addition as these only show up on later models.

*SkipperJohn, 1810-1815: postdate the first two as it has a green inside visor. Low leather comb, visor rivet centered, comb brass front flaired and without rivet set it apart from the previous ones which may indicate that these features are later. Centering the visor rivet is logical from an aesthetic perspective, while the initial position may have been forced by the leather chinstrap. This has not been taken care of in the previous examples

* militarytrader, from 1815: Very difficult to say, but the convex ketten would date it to post 1815. All of the other dating evidence is missing from the picture except maybe a centered visor rivet.

I think the oldenburg is relevant, I remember reading somewhere that the kürassier-helmets were used by a few dragoon regiments for a while.

Maybe the kamm was designed so that you could replace the front? Seeing as it is quite likely to wear more than the rest.

Extremely entertaining area, if maybe somewhat pricey & difficult to get into unless you are lucky. You have to really comb through the scant evidence there is over and over again! I love this thread, thank you John! :D
 

SkipperJohn

Active member
I believe that your timeline is fairly accurate. I must admit; however, that the photo we are using as our prime example of a Model 1809 is questionable, at best. I have no doubt that the helmet is a quality M1809 example but, after much research, I began to disregard it in terms of the Schuppenkette.



Note on the M1809 example above that the Schuppenkette are convex. All models had flat chinscales until a military directive ordered them to be convex in late 1815 early 1816. The phase in of convex chinscales occurred between 1816 and 1818. Also the Schuppenkette are held on with rosettes that incorporate a thumb screw fastener. According to references the external thumbscrew fastener with a screw protruding from the inside of the helmet out was not used until the early 1820's. The rosettes on my helmet have a screw that is attached to the rosette itself. On another Napoleonic example that I have (I haven't written about it yet) the rosettes utilized the early "flat strap" type of bent pin attachment. This helmet is dated 1814. When using the above photo as an example I made the assumption that it had been "updated" at some point in it's life.

The Raupe comb on my helmet is the same as the Military Trader example that you linked to as well as being dimensionally the same as the 1809 pictured above. I think that part of the confusion on the height of the comb is that the stitching is still very tight and the comb is pulled tightly together making it appear shorter. There is another photo of an existing example in a series of books (not my favorite), Cavalry of the Napoleonic Wars, #12, Prussian Cuirassiers, Osprey on page 14. This shows a front plume that definitely appears to be separate from the regular Kamm and it has high mounted Schuppenkette.

I believe that these helmets had a "potatoe sack" type liner until their demise. Most Prussian headgear from the Napoleonic period used this type of liner until about 1810. My 1814 piece has an early tongued liner but it is not the same as a Pickelhaube.

I mentioned earlier in this thread that the research on this is somewhat daunting and it continues along that path.

I wish that I could drum up as much interest in the other Napoleonic piece I posted here: http://pickelhaubes.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=10766" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

John :)
 

aicusv

Active member
Although I have never owned a Napoleonic period piece of head wear, I do enjoy reading about them and the details about their construction. I would like to know more about not only Prussian and the other German states of the period, but about all the types worn during the Napoleonic Wars and later. I've seen photos and drawings and even held a piece or two in my hands, but the details about the construction I find of great interest, please continue posting.

I'm very interested in the way things were made, the "How did they do that" factor.
 

d99wipe

New member
I see all your points regarding the low mounted schuppenketten. Also, as they have rather bulky arrangements on the insides, I guess any low placed schuppenketten would cause there to be brain-piercing nuts and screws on the inside, which is unlikely to have been acceptable. Bent pins maybe, though... It would be interesting to learn more about this 1814 dated specimen, it is the time frame gap that we are seemingly missing!

It could also be a trick of the mind as the kamm makes it look smaller. I could do some measurements on my leather comb once I get back from celebrating the holidays! Am I seeing it correctly that the brass front edge is flaired towards the top though?

Liners will always be rarer than helmets I guess, so that sounds like a challenging area of research. According to that cost sum-up on the german site, they speak of linen, which must have been meant for the liner. That sum up is supposedly from may 1814.

A divided kamm is definately a reasonable development. It would be interesting to analyze a complete specimen!

That shako is amazing, I always like the non-elite things best, mannschaft and landwehr. But I suppose the reason for the lacking support may be in the name of this site, kürassierhelme are at least related to if not the direct ancestor of the pickelhaubes. If I find a Landwehr shako, count on me to join the fray however!

aicusv, it is not entirely easy to tell how they built these helmets from examining them, but I think the construction of mine looks more crude than the officer helmets. I enjoy the fact of holding something that is the stuff of legends from old paintings in my hand and feel the reality of them; that they actually once have required some engineering more than the brushstrokes of an artist.
 

SkipperJohn

Active member
I measured the leather comb at the front of my helmet where the brass attachment sits and it is just about 7.5 cm. Apparently it has shrunk over time because the brass attachment measures about 9 cm where it attaches to the leather Raupe. The leather comb stitching is very tight giving the sides of the comb sort of a "balloon" look. Also, because of your post, I checked the side of the Raupe and Kamm and it appears that two of the holes for the stitches holding the Kamm are larger than the other holes and there are two holes in the leather Raupe just at the base of where the Kamm attaches that appear to have no purpose. It is entirely possible that either the two larger holes, or the two additional holes (which before I just passed off as age) could have been used to hold on a removable Kamm. I also carefully inspected the stitching holding in the Kamm, and, even though it appears to have been tarred like the other stitching, it does not appear to have been as professionally done. I am now very curious about the possibility that the Kamm was initially removable but was permanently sewn in after 1810. This could also contribute to the Raupe being somewhat shorter.





The front brass Raupe support is somewhat flared at the top when looking at the helmet from the front. I did not give this much thought because I had seen examples and photos that had either flared or straight Raupe supports. This could be an officer application or just a manufacturer variance. The most interesting aspect is the loop on the inside of the support. It has to be there for some reason.



I believe the photo makes it look more flared than it actually is.

I hope to post an article on my 1814 piece soon. It is a Tschako and not a helmet such as these.

aicusv: Keep reading and look at other sections in this forum. As time permits I hope to write articles on:
1814 Tschako
Napoleonic Prisoner of War Art
Model 1809 Briquet Sword
Prussian Campaign Medals of the Napoleonic Wars

This is a Pickelhaube site and I don't want to become a pariah by continuing to add all Napoleonic stuff. I have a few more Pickelhaubes to add to this forum while putting together the Napoleonic articles.

John :)
 

d99wipe

New member
My leather comb ranges from 2cm at the base just above the neck protector, through 5cm halfway through the turn to 9cm just before the support. The support itself is a little over 10cm. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it alters the proportions considerably in my mind.

I guess the details in yours can't be used as dating evidence without more dated helmet examples that share these features. With these things springing to light from everywhere right now, there's hope that there will be such examples available! Do you have any publishable helmet with flaired supports?

Another aspect that you can research is where your kamm goes through the rear neck shield, that is a feature neither doubled on mine nor the Mutius it seems. Maybe you can se if it is an feature original to the helmet or later?

My vote for the loop is that the long droopy part of the kamm was replacable.

Funny, what caused me to find this site was that I was hoping that the reenactors had constructed replacement kamms, only to find that helmets with replacable kamms weren't typical. Similarly, maybe now you need a replacement front kamm.

An emotional reflection on my part; these were worn by the Cuirassiers at the height of their power, these most romantic of soldiers who were to charge straight into the enemy. At a time when that must have seemed like an eternal order, but now so long ended that they fade into legend. And the nation which was known for these soldiers above all were prussia. Napoleon himself warned his generals of them, and once the country was occupied they sharpened their swords on the stairs of the french embassy. To hold one of these pieces is almost like touching a fairy tale..
 

SkipperJohn

Active member
My leather comb is the same; 2cm just above the neck guard, 5cm at the beginning of the turn, but just a little over 7cm at the front. The support is a little over 10cm at the front. It must be an optical illusion because (other than the very front) the comb measures exactly the same as yours. It could be that my helmet is a larger size. If mine fits a larger head the comb would look smaller. Also the comb on mine is bunched up at the front because the stitching is tight. I noticed on your helmet the sides of the leather Raupe are almost completely flat. This is characteristic of newer models like the 1820 pictured above. It could be that the stitching on yours has just stretched.

It seems different models, over different years, had flared supports. There are a couple of photos on Pinterest and Alamy that I cannot copy, but they show a flare. Most are covered because of the longer hair in the front. The photo in Osprey also seems to have a flair. If there was, in fact, a detachable front plume it would make sense to incorporate a flair in the support, otherwise the front hair would just hang down straight in a hair cylinder looking somewhat like a curved broomstick.

I had noticed that the link you posted in this thread is to a reenactment group. I found it amazing that they are trying to reproduce these helmets. I'll bet that will cost a fortune now-a-days. Maybe they will just use modern materials.

If you are looking for horse hair to make your own Kamm you could try: Black Bear Haversack Trading Post
https://www.black-bear-haversack.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

John :)
 

SkipperJohn

Active member
Photos reinstalled in original post per request.

Herr Weitz has a similar one for sale here:

https://www.weitze.net/militaria/60/Preussen_Helm_Modell_1830_fuer_Offiziere_der_Linien_Kuerassier_Regimenter__140760.html

His is a Model 1830 and not a Model 1809.

John :)
 

SkipperJohn

Active member
Sandmann said:
Really nice price...congratulations to your treasure :bravo:

I was asked if I knew of one for sale. This is all that I could find.

Herr Weitze will likely have it available for a long time --- a very long time.

John :)
 

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