Original U.S. Spanish American War Era Army Infantry Shako

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Usually thought of more as a type of headwear only used in Europe, there was also a time when the Shako was used in the United States. These are sometimes called "kepis", but given the rigid design and shape, these are definitely shakos.

This example has a black felt exterior, with black finished leather trim, typical of other U.S. shakos we have seen. It is unfortunately missing all of the insignia except for the infantry "Crossed Rifles" badge on the front. The front plate, cockade, chinstrap, and side buttons are missing.

Overall condition is quite nice, though there is wear inside and out, as shown. The original sweatband is still in good shape, showing only light wear. The stitching is mostly intact, except for the crown piece, which has had most of the stitching pull, except towards the front.

Very decorative and ready to display!

History of the shako-

The word shako originated from the Hungarian name csákós süveg ("peaked cap"), which was a part of the uniform of the Hungarian hussar of the 18th century. Other spellings include chako, czako, schako and tschako.

From 1800 on the shako became a common military headdress, worn by the majority of regiments in the armies of Europe and the Americas. Replacing in most instances the light bicorne, the shako was initially considered an improvement. Made of heavy felt and leather, it retained its shape and provided some protection for the soldier's skull, while its visor shaded his eyes. The shako retained this pre-eminence until the mid-19th century, when spiked helmets began to appear in the armies of the various German States, and the more practical kepi replaced it for all but parade wear in the French Army. The Imperial Russian Army substituted a spiked helmet for the shako in 1844-45 but returned to the latter headdress in 1855, before adopting a form of kepi in 1864. Following the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, military fashions changed and cloth or leather helmets based on the German headdress began to supersede the shako in many armies.

Although the mid-nineteenth century shako was impressive in appearance and added to the height of the wearer, it was also heavy and by itself provided little protection against bad weather as most models were made of cloth or felt material over a leather body and peak. Many armies countered this by utilizing specially designed oilskin covers to protect the shako and the wearer from heavy rain while on campaign. The shako provided little protection from enemy action as the most it could offer was in giving partial shielding of the skull from enemy cavalry sabres

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