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A practical guide on original detachable chin straps of 1942-1945 vintage.


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Original chin straps of WWII vintage have become tough to find. In the majority of cases, liners lack their little leather friend.

Hunting one takes time, and knowledge to begin with. I’ve decided to start a little reference thread on the forum to help both beginning and advanced collectors in their quest for this rare piece of history.

 

To save the undetachable chin strap for another topic, I will only discuss the detachable variant, found on both fiber and high pressure liners.

 

Early straps

 

As of 1942, the first detachable chin strap was introduced. Never before it had featured clips which could be attached to chin straps studs, located on the inside of the fiber (e.g. late Hawley variant) or high pressure liner.

 

These clips were made in a special shape, to facilitate attachment (see picture). Flexible metal allows the clips to snap itself in place around the studs. Both clips are kept in place by means of rivets.

 

012-2.jpg

Chin strap attached to a high pressure liner through use of brass (late war) clips.

The first detachable straps featured a cam lever, to lock the leather once it was fastened around the chin or helmet. The very first hardware on these detachable straps was painted in a dark brown shade. Why brown? Most likely to match the color of the leather.

Correct hardware of the early type was made of steel. Which means that is always magnetic.

The lock featured a flat lip.

 

0012.jpg

Early type cam lever (this one would be painted in brown or green).

Later on, in 1942-1943, the hardware was painted in a dark green shade. The material used remained steel.

 

Mid war straps

 

In 1943, an interesting modification occurred in the cam. Decisions were made to curve the end of the cam lever. The flat lip tended to cut through the leather after a lot of usage. Thus, the first curved cam lever was a fact. It was still painted in green, until 1944.

 

greenmid-latewar.jpg

Hardware of 1943-1944 specifications.

Late war straps

 

In 1944, all hardware was made out of brass. A non-magnetic type of metal. The metal was treated with an anti-rust coating, giving it a rather black appearance.

 

001-2.jpg

Chin strap produced in 1944 or 1945. This specimen does not have a patent number.

 

005-1.jpg

Back side of a late war cam lever.

Markings

 

Original chin straps tend to be marked (or unmarked) in a variety of places. Rivets were usually provided by United Carr (fastener corporation). It is not uncommon for rivets to be unmarked.

 

009-1.jpg

United Carr markings on late war rivets (brass).

Late war cam levers often have a patent number stamped in the back. Green hardware is often encountered with a little anchor stamped in the back. Although subject of a lot of doubts and discussion, many collectors including myself think of these as genuine WWII vintage. It is possibly the logo of a manufacturer of which the name has remained unknown.

The third place to look for markings: the leather. Both stamped and ink marked logo’s are frequently seen on the detachable straps.

 

makermarkHagerstownleatherCO.jpg

Leather marked by Hagerstown Leather company.

 

unmarkedrivet.jpg

Unmarked rivets in a dark green shade.

Oddities

 

It is possible for a strap to have a variety of characteristics. For instance, a strap with a green buckle can sometimes have brown rivets, etc. These oddities are simply explained by the fact that manufacturers used up stocks whenever they could.

 

The leather

 

The leather used to produce the straps was, in most cases, thin and smooth. The outer side was given a russet color, whereas the inner side has more of a light cream color to it. In the vast majority of cases, the outer side of the leather will show two horizontal lines stamped on about ½ inch of each other.

 

 

So much for theory, let’s get to the practical side! You know what to look for now, but in some cases it’s still not enough to separate an original strap from a reproduced strap. And, given their scarcity, the latter is offered a lot more than the original deal. So, you found one? Good! Let’s have a closer look at your item.

 

Purchasing tips

 

*Early straps: make sure that you are dealing with hardware made out of steel. In other words, ask the seller to take a picture of the merchandise with a magnet attached to the hardware.

 

*If you are purchasing on the Internet, ask for better pictures when you need to.

 

*Dry leather is, in most cases, a nice sign of authenticity. Genuine leather will at least show signs of strain and usage. Walk away from leather that looks or smells brand new!

 

*Take a closer look at the rivets. Rivets provided by Carr United are favored by the vast majority of collectors.

 

*Look at how the leather is cut. Original examples tend to have ends which were cut in a rounded shape (C-shape). In most cases of forgery, the fraud item will lack the details. (Note: certain dealers as J Murray inc will offer you quality reproduction straps with correct cut leather. Honest dealers will inform you of the fact that you're buying a reproduction.)

 

*Honest wear: unless you’re dealing with what looks like an unissued piece, walk away from straps with hardware that looks like it was made yesterday, because in a lot of cases, it wasn’t made much earlier.

 

*Know who you’re buying it from! Certified dealers are always preferable, even if that means spending a little more.

If you don’t trust your knowledge or intuition on the matter, ask an experienced collector on the forum or elsewhere. I’m sure they will be happy to help!

 

 

Abouts

 

All pictures are private property or were found on usmilitariaforum.com. Please use them for educational purposes only.

Manufacturer markings: a partial list of leather manufacturer markings can be found elsewhere on the forum. Please feel free to add a partial or complete list if you’re able to.

Post # 1 lacks a picture of a strap with brown hardware. Please feel free to add one if you can.

This post is far from complete. I’ve only tried to spread some basic knowledge which I’ve gathered over the past few years. If you want to help others out, like I want to do with this thread, don’t hesitate to share your knowledge with us! A good reference thread on chin straps is something the helmet section has been missing.

 

I hope to have been of some kind of help. Feel free to add just anything!

 

Best regards,

Ken

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"The battle belonged that morning to the thin wet line of khaki that dragged itself ashore on the channel coast of France." - General Omar Bradley.

 

 

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I wanted to add this. Apparently the going price for the leather chinstrap for liners is $71.25 each!!

This is confirmed today by the auction results on eBay for item number " 270948620031 "

 

Wow!

 

Scarier still is the single one still listed and getting bids... " 170822822990 "

Currently at $89 with 2 days until the final bid.

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Nice job Ken! This is the nucleus of a potentially very useful thread. Maybe we could also incorporate a section which highlights "Euro-clone" straps which are often either genuinely mistaken for US made examples or else deliberately described as "US" to deceive. (I added a few pics to illustrate this in another thread a week or so ago)

 

Ian :thumbsup:

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Hi All

 

The two chinstraps that sold on ebay today-Item #270948620031, Appear to be both WW2 originals to me-one a Blackened Brass buckle and the other a Green steel buckle, both with at least one United Carr rivet. The single ebay chinstrap item #170822822990, is already at $103.-With almost two days to go..... So based on that, I would say the first two straps at $71.25 each (Total $142) was a good deal.

 

Comments... Do all the straps look good?

 

Thanks

Charlie

 

Here are links..

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/270948620031

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/170822822990

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Charlie,

 

All straps appear correct. In the double auction, one strap is of correct late war issue with the brass hardware. The other strap appears to be of a 1943 or 1944 vintage, with green hardware if I'm seeing things right. That strap appears to have a brass rivet on a side. Nice example of the 'oddities' I described above.

 

@ Ian, good idea! The thread should become a practical guide on what to look for, and what to avoid. A post on post war straps and euro-clone variants would be a valuable addition!

 

Cheers

donation2014.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2018.gif

 

"The battle belonged that morning to the thin wet line of khaki that dragged itself ashore on the channel coast of France." - General Omar Bradley.

 

 

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The term "Euro-clone" is often encountered on the helmet forum. It refers to copies of the M1 helmet manufactured/used by several European armies in the post-war period. It's not unusual for these to be mistaken for USGI M1s by inexperienced collectors because it can be very difficult to tell them apart unless you know what to look for. Also, unscrupulous sellers often try to pass them off as "Original US M1 helmet"...so buyers beware! Anyway, as this thread is about chinstraps I thought I'd just add a few pics which will hopefully help members differentiate between them and US originals.

 

Perhaps the most frequently encountered "Euro-clones" are those of Belgian origin. Overall, they are very similar to US originals but do differ in several significant respects, most noticeably perhaps in the grade of leather used which tends to be rather thicker than US types and with a much coarser "rough side". The buckle is brass and the rivets are unmarked. Also, colour-wise the clones tend to be a much lighter reddish-tan shade. To be fair, the do make acceptable replacements for US straps, particularly for the rough and tumble of reenacting!

 

post-8022-1334312271.jpg post-8022-1334312282.jpg

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

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Comparison with USGI strap.

 

post-8022-1334312374.jpg post-8022-1334312386.jpg

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

donation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

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Some European armies substituted webbing chinstraps for leather ones. These are of the same basic design but of OD cotton...probably more durable than leather? Here are a couple of examples.

 

post-8022-1334312566.jpg post-8022-1334312578.jpg post-8022-1334312586.jpg

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

donation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

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