Edited by [email protected], 11 August 2017 - 05:46 PM.
1881 helmet questions
Posted 11 August 2017 - 05:40 PM
Posted 12 August 2017 - 05:59 AM
The front plate is for the earlier M1872 dress helmet. It can be found on later M1881's during the transition period. The helmet body you have might be a New York state troops pattern and not the Federal-issue type. Many, if not most of these helmets in collector's hands seem to have been assembled from all the various helmet bodies and removable insignia pieces.
Posted 12 August 2017 - 03:19 PM
The plate is a replica and as atb stated, the helmet is not Federal, but rather NY State. It probably has a Ridabock & Co label inside (typical of the mountains of such helmets that came out of Bannermans many decades ago and had all types of insignia added to them).
Edited by KurtA, 12 August 2017 - 03:20 PM.
Posted 12 August 2017 - 06:07 PM
Yes. The Excelsior plates are common and can be found cheap (if you shop)
Posted 12 August 2017 - 08:42 PM
I have one and will give it to you if you want. Its not perfect and has holes for the regiment numbers, but no number. Send me your address thru PM and I will send it out to you if you want it.
Posted 13 August 2017 - 07:12 PM
Posted 15 August 2017 - 09:07 AM
You have to realize that most 1881 helmets on the market were assembled in the 50's and 60's from the mass Bannerman stocks. When these helmets were shipped out west to the outpost and western forts, the Army realized how fragile they were and began to ship them disassembled to be built when they arrived to their location. When the helmets were replaced in 1902, Bannerman bought the surplus parts and began to sell them. You could buy almost any part you wanted to create any helmet bran ch you wanted. The parts that were hard to get were original shells and the waffle lanyards that attached the helmet to the blouse for mounted troops. To compensate for the demand for shells, the people used the most available and cheap shell around, the NY National Guard Helmets.
Since the NYNG helmets were seamed and had ventilator holes, it is easy to see if Federal enlistedman parts were added to a NYNG Helmet. An officer would be private purchased and most have seams and ventilator holes, but they also should be silk lined on the inside. On yours, it looks like a three piece plate for an officer as well as the officer chin strap. Flip it over and check the inside. Are the side buttons crossed rifles also? Ridabock made all kinds of headgear, it is just most common to see a NYNG shell used with Federal parts.
Posted 15 August 2017 - 11:30 AM
I was always under the impression that Bannermans sold authentic surplus items,including the plates,since they were so plentiful and cheap at that time.
Did they also make replicas?
Posted 15 August 2017 - 12:20 PM
Posted 15 August 2017 - 01:48 PM
Ridabock did manufacture Officer helmets, but as Woodymyster stated, they were of higher quality with a silk-lined interior. The example pictured here would appear to be the standard Bannermans surplus NYNG helmet with an officer plate and chain added. These NY Ridabock helmets came out of Bannermans. Most of the Federal M1881 enlisted helmets came out of Stokes-Kirk in Philadelphia. Until the early 1970's they still had stacks of unissued M1881 Enlisted helmet bodies. To these, they would add original plume and holder (in later years they used a repro plume holder- these repro holders had a seam around the ball section), original side buttons and original front plate (Artillery or Cavalry, but mostly Cavalry, as they sold better). They had no chin straps or cords.
In the early 1970's Bannermans (at their final suburban NY location prior to going out of business) had huge stocks of Infantry helmet spikes and bases for around 75 cents per set.
A used complete enlisted helmet (i.e., with chinstrap and cords) is much tougher to find than a used Officer's helmet.
Posted 15 August 2017 - 08:02 PM
You can do whatever you want. The shell belongs with NYNG insignia if you wanted everything to be original, but so many of these are mismatched, you just assume its a put together when you see one for sale. You have a lot of Officers items so perhaps you need an original shell, but then you are still putting together a helmet. I got into these helmets relatively recently (7 years ago) and I remember wanting to buy anything that had brass on it back then. It took good guidance from lifetime collectors to calm me down and learn what to look for. I don't want to sound like a broken record, but buying books and gaining wisdom from others is the best way to approach these helmets. Their story of why the army adopted them and continued to modify them is enough reason to buy the books. These are the two I recommend although there is more info needed on these helmets as these are not the end all of information on them. Both should be pretty cheap:
Brass Spikes & Horsetail Plumes: A History of U.S. Army Dress Helmets, 1872-1904
A Guide Book to U.S. Army Dress Helmets 1872-1904 (Collector's Guide to Military Uniforms)
Where are you located? I would be lost if it wasn't for Mark K, Pat C, and Ed C. Im in Southern California if you are local.
Posted 15 August 2017 - 08:30 PM
BTW, Your helmet is obviously NYNG as it is marked with a N.G. N.Y. Inspector stamp on the inside.
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