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Original German WWI Grand Duchy of Baden M1895 Artillery Pickelhaube Helmet - Kugelhelm

Regular price $1,195.00

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very good condition Imperial Grand Duchy of Baden Artillery enlisted man's Mannschaften (other ranks) pickelhaube just recently found at a large military show.

On this version of the Pickelhaube, a ball representing a cannon ball replaced the usual spike, leading this to be referred to as an Artillerie Kugelhelm (Artillery Ball-Top Helm). The M1895 was the final pre-1914 evolution in a long series of pickelhaube helmets. It displays a lovely condition brass Baden helmet plate and is without cockades and chinstrap. The helmet retains the correct all brass alloy fittings.

This helmet features a polished brass front plate (wappen) with the Crowned Heraldic Griffin clutching a sword and resting on the Baden state shield. Below this is the Grand Duchy's motto: MIT GOTT F. FUERST U. VATERLAND (With God for Prince, or Grand Duke, and Fatherland). The crown of this leather helmet displays a ball instead of the infantry spike. The ball is not able to be removed and there does appear to have been some repairs done to the fixture and finial itself. It does not have a vented spine on the rear, nor are there any cockades present. The Wappen is held in place by replaced leather tabs.

The leather liner is still in good shape, but is missing the top leather tie, and seems to be around a size 56cm. The lacquer finished leather is in good condition, with the usual age cracking and some areas of finish loss. The shape of this pickelhaube is preserved excellently, and has a pleasant overall “rested” patina. The front and rear visor stitching degraded with many evident repairs present. There seems to have been minimal leather shrinkage on this example, and it displays great.

Ready to display!

The Pickelhaube-
Germany’s Pickelhaube helmet, distinguished by a lone spike jutting straight from its top, became a symbol of Prussian militarism in the early 20th century. Introduced by the Prussian military in 1843, the Pickelhaube was originally proposed for use by cavalry troops. The helmets, made of pressed leather, were developed as an updated solution to the conical shako hats worn by Prussians during the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleonic-era shakos offered virtually no head protection and were cumbersome to wear in wet conditions, as they easily soaked up rain. The Pickelhaube, therefore, was greeted as a practical modern invention. The new “leather helmets” or “helmets with spikes” gave soldiers’ greater head covering and visibility.

The distinctive spike on the Pickelhaube was supposed to function as a blade tip. It was designed to deflect sword blows aimed at the head. The spikes could be modified depending on soldiers’ battlefield duties and outfitted with plumes on formal occasions.

Use of the helmet became widespread throughout Germany and was even adopted by regional police forces and fire brigades. The helmet was often greeted with sarcasm and mockery, even within Germany. In 1843, the famous German poet, Heinrich Heine, wrote and published a satiric poem, “Germany: A Winter’s Tale,” in the poem, Heine compared the Pickelhaube to a lightning rod:

“Yes, yes, I like the helmet, it demonstrates the loftiest wit!
A kingly inspiration, it was! Complete with a point and tip!
I’m just afraid a storm will come and only too easily hit,
That romantic crown of yours with a fancy lightning blitz!”

The Pickelhaube became a symbol of Prussian aggressiveness and battle prowess. An imperial proclamation in 1871 made the Pickelhaube mandatory for all German troops. Proud Prussian military leaders with bristling mustaches posed for publicity photos sporting the Pickelhaube, including Kaiser Wilhelm II, Otto von Bismarck, and Paul von Hindenburg. In other countries, the horned helmets became synonymous with barbarism, especially during World War I.

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