Original Imperial German WWI Bavarian M1895 Infantry Ersatz Felt Pickelhaube Spiked Helmet - Filzhelm
Original Item: Only One Available. When WWI broke out, there was a great need for additional helmets and equipment for the mobilization. A shortage of cow hide from Argentina combined with the excessive draw upon German industry to outfit the massive army being mobilized, resulted in a severe shortage of leather for manufacturing Pickelhauben. To meet with this immediate shortage, the Germans began in 1914 manufacturing helmets from Ersatz (substitute) materials.
As the felt hat manufacturing industry was well established in Germany for hundreds of years, the hat industry stepped in to fill the void by producing Pickelhaube out of pressed and blocked felt, manufactured from rabbit fur or shredded wool. One advantage to the Filzhelme (felt helmets) was that they were normally pressed from one-piece of felt which significantly reduced production time. There were various variations produced, depending on when they were made and what materials for fittings were available at the time. First the brass M1895 fittings were used up, and then in 1915 the Filzhelm switched to the oxide coated steel. There are many examples of Ersatz helmets with both brass and steel fittings.
This is a very good condition, Imperial Bavarian line Infantry enlisted man's Mannschaften (other ranks) Ersatz (replacement) felt pickelhaube. It displays lovely condition brass Bavarian rampant lions helmet plate and comes complete with supple original leather liner. The spike on top denotes infantry issue and retains correct brass chin strap lugs, cockades (possibly repainted), and leather chin strap.
This helmet features a gilt brass infantry wappen (front plate) with the Bavarian coat of arms, over the kingdom's motto, In Treue Fest, German for "steadfast in loyalty." The original leather wedges that held it in place are no longer present.
The crown of this leather helmet displays a brass vented enlisted spike mount on a brass baseplate. The spike is in excellent condition, and as per the pattern, is fixed and does not rotate. It is complete with the Bavarian (blue and white) and German National Colors (red white and black) kokarden (cockades) around the chin strap lugs. In 1897 the new Reichs-Kokarde in Red-White-Black was introduced for all ranks to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kaiser Wilhelm 1st. The Reichs-Kokarde was to be worn on the right side of the helmet, and the state Kokarde was moved to the left.
The soldered bolt and nut system used to secure the front Wappen onto the helmet was changed to a system for retaining Wappen on the front of helmets that had been used as far back as 1845 for Bayern (Bavarian) helmets and 1867 for Sachsen (Saxon) helmets. A soldered loop was affixed to the back of the Wappen which passed through corresponding grommeted holes on the front of the helmet. A leather wedge was then passed through the loop on the interior to keep the Wappen in place.
The exterior of the helmet is in very good condition, with no major moth damage or other issues. There is dirt in areas as well as some stains, as expected from a helmet over 100 years in age. This example has front vizor brass trim in very good condition, with just a bit of rippling. Later versions of the Felt Helmets would have rolled over edges. The internal liner is in good condition, without a top strap.
Overall a very nice condition Imperial Prussian Ersatz Felt pickelhaube, a great addition to any collection. Ready to display!
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