Jump to content
Gentleman's Military Interest Club

Recommended Posts

Michael - most unusual with the enlarged tail. I hope some of our helmet experts will be able to help. Mervyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Michael,

I checked with a couple of friends of mine who would be considered authorities on such helmets and they think it is a theatrical prop due to the unusual shape and the lack of ventilation between the head band and shell. I checked this against some in my collection as well as photos in a book on the subject and I would have to agree with them. Though my own opinion is not based of a wide knowledge I do put great store in what I have been advised.

Sorry my research didn't produce better news.

Regards

Brian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not any kind of expert at all - though there are several on this forum . One of them is Peter Sicu who I believe has a book out on topis. His 1877 pattern example looks a bit like this one, but not so narrow and long. Check it out here: http://www.nyc-techwriters.com/militaria/british_helmets2.htm

Peter.

Edited by peter monahan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Mervyn, Brian, Mickey, and Peter fro your replies - the helmet is being shipped, when it arrives I'll be able to examine it more throroughly for authenticity, etc - I'll reserve judgement until then.

I have posted on other forums and the response has generally been that ( based on the photos) it is not likely military nor a private purchase, possibly theatrical, maybe a polo helmet...like I said I'm waiting for it to arrive. The purveyor is willing to have it returned, but insists its original. I vaguely recall seeing an old sepia/black and white photo of a a soldier wearing a comparable helmet - not sure if it was in India or South Africa. In any case, if anyone comes across any info please post!

thanks,

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So the helmet has arrived and I have enclosed additional photos. Upon inspection its evident that it is extremely old and fragile, but how old is anyones guess. The helmet's unusual appearance, as seen in the photos that were posted in the beginning of this thread, turns out to be be due to its distorted shape. For starters the front peak is deviated and the sides are squeezed together which gives it an elongated and narrow shape and causes the both the front and back to bow outward, giving it a sloped domed appearance.

When the sides are gently pulled outward and the front is gently pressed to return it to its original shape without damaging it, one can see that it takes on a more familiar appearance resembling other helmets from the era of the Boer Wars. It has some similarities to that of an example of Pagets horse I've seen online.

As far as the ventilation is concerned, I don't know if there were cork spacers at one time or not. There may have been something between the the sweatband and the liner at one time that has since crumbled away. Interestingly the sweatband is firmly secured to the helmet with what appears to be a number of rusted and aged metallic attachments spaced at regular intervals which span the sweatband and cork, but dont penetrate the canvas cover.

The gauze pagri is also extremely old and similar to examples from the period as is the red wool material, but these may have been a later addition.

I,m interested to hear what others have to say. I'm happy to post additional photos if need be. The seller was willing to take it back, but after seeing it, handling it, etc, I'm more inclined to believe it may be original. It actually looks comparable to boer helmets posted on GMIC. ( http://gmic.co.uk/index.php/topic/36423 ... -headgear/)

<a href="http://s1294.photobucket.com/user/Westernhighlander/media/image-1_zps2585e8dd.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt=" photo image-1_zps2585e8dd.jpg"/></a>

<a href="http://s1294.photobucket.com/user/Westernhighlander/media/image-1_zps636504b7.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="' alt='' class='ipsImage' >" border="0" alt=" photo image-1_zps636504b7.jpg"/></a>

<a href="http://s1294.photobucket.com/user/Westernhighlander/media/image-1_zps636504b7.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="' alt='' class='ipsImage' >" border="0" alt=" photo image-1_zps636504b7.jpg"/></a>

<a href="http://s1294.photobucket.com/user/Westernhighlander/media/image-1_zps32d32f45.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt=" photo image-1_zps32d32f45.jpg"/></a>

<a href="http://s1294.photobucket.com/user/Westernhighlander/media/image-1_zpse89580cd.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="' alt='' class='ipsImage' >" border="0" alt=" photo image-1_zpse89580cd.jpg"/></a>

<a href="http://s1294.photobucket.com/user/Westernhighlander/media/image-1_zpse89580cd.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="' alt='' class='ipsImage' >" border="0" alt=" photo image-1_zpse89580cd.jpg"/></a>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A good example why we should always wait for full photos before passing an opinion. I was really surprised to see how this had distorted

from age and pressure. I hope one of the helmet specialists will be able to identify the unit for you. Mervyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't know about professional restoration except that it will cost the earth. I suspect that the distortion comes from years, perhaps decades of storage in a slightly too shallow box, or squeezed between two harder objects. I can get some really odd 'head shape's when I put my lacquered felt [reproduction] 1809 British shako away still damp from wear. If its to high when I close the box it lives in with a bunch of other stuff it shows exactly the same sort of elongation and squashed shape when I take it out.

One solution I've seen a fellow re-enactor use is to put a rubber/plastic ball - think kid's sized football - into the hat and very gently inflate it. It pushes the shako back into a circular profile which, while not quite human head shaped is some improvement. Not sure you want to try that with this poor old thing, but it might at least protect it from further squashing. Just a thought.

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The other thing you can try is an adjustable hat stretcher that you can find on ebay. I use them to keep my hats in shape after getting wet so you could just put it in & it shoud bring the helmet back to it's original shape without having to adjust it for size.

Just a thought !!!

Jason

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should have mentioned stretchers too. I made a crude but effective one by connecting two semi-circles of thick wood - 2" thick - with one of the turnbuckle used on clotheslines. [Total cost about $5.00]

It has an eye on each end, which I pinned into the wood through slots on the flat sides of the wooden pieces, and the middle section is a long bolt threaded left hand on one end and right hand on the other, so that turning the center section either lengthens or shortens it. I hope that's clear. If not, PM me and I'll send you a photo of same.

Put it into the helmet loose and very gently turn the center section until it pushes the sides out to the position you want. be prepared to wait weeks for the 'new' shape to become permanent! Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×