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Evaluating Genuine Chin Strap Stitching(Bar-tacking)


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On another thread about a questionable medic helmet, some very interesting points were made concerning genuine stitching patterns(bar-tacking) for helmet chin straps. I felt that this information would get to more helmet enthusiasts if it was posted on it's own merits. Below are some of the comments made first by: "gecko NZ" and then by: "Mr-X".

 

gehko NZ: This is something that interests me, I'm a textile mechanic over here and very old machines (bar tackers included) are pretty common, you can't give them away half the time, I could see how a new programmable bar tacker could give a slightly different stitch, but mechanical ones all work pretty much the same as each other, once someone designs a machine, everyone else just copy's it, the basic design of many types of machines haven't changed in quite some time, theres a place (a hat place) we have done work for that I found out makes or used to make PASGT helmet covers, I got a blue UN cover off the net with their label in it, and their still using machines that would have been around during the 40's, because no ones making anything new to replace them.

 

From my point of view, IMO the stitch itself wouldn't be hard to replicate if you knew where to look, the thread used might give more clues.

 

Mr-X: Prior to leaving to go to university, I worked in the textile manufacturing industry for over 10 years. I have used many a bar tacker. I can tell you that its not the age of the machine, its the stitch that it is set up to perform that is important here.

 

Older manual bar tack machines such as the very common and very good Singer 269W or etc, will more than likely be set up to stitch a 42 stitch 5/8in long 1/8in wide end stop pattern bar tack. This standard bar tack is a little too spaced out for the very concentrated stitch (more like 3/4in long 52 stitch) that is on the M-1 helmet chin straps. Manual machines are not readily changeable as to stitch pattern. They use a geared plate to make the stitch and that needs to be replaced to change the stitch. Different sized plates are a rare spare part. My sewing machine mechanic laughed when I asked him if he could change the one at work. Later 269's had variable length and width but not number of stitches.

 

Modern programmable machines can give you an end or center stop bar tack or flag stitch at the drop of a hat. However the one my previous employer bought cost $5000. Which is a lot of money to spend just to fake up some M-1s. It never really produced a bar tack as good as the original anyway.

 

A 42 stitch bar tack with the correct color and thickness cotton thread will look the part but it will not stand up to an expect look. With the amount of rebuilt M-1s being sold off as original the chin strap bar tacks are something that we will all need to study.

 

BTW I am unable to find out which particular type of bar tack machine was used by McCord during the war to make M-1. But they must have been very reliable. There were 22 Million M-1s made during the war. Each had 3 bar tacks each. Thats 66 Million bar tacks in 4 years. Thats an average of 48,000 bar tacks a day.

 

 

Mr-X Second Post: Here is a drawing of a standard 42 stitch bar tack.[Check Post #9 at this link to see drawing: http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...showtopic=15340 9

 

(FORUM EDITORS' NOTE: we have edited this post to include the bartack information from the other thread)

 

 

bartack.jpg

 

 

If you count the stitches on the top or the bottom you will find that it numbers 15.

 

If you count the ones along the top or bottom of the bar tack on you M-1 chin strap you will find that it number more like 20.

20 top and 20 bottom with 10 inside makes a 52 stitch bar tack.

They are hard to count as they are more tightly packed in than the 42 stitch bar tack.

 

I hope that this helps to understand what I am on about.

I also hope that it is not too technical.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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you often wonder if giving this info is a good idea, theres certain people out there that would use this kind of information for the wrong reasons.

 

Possibly true, but then this post makes the job harder for those wrong type of people and at the same time gives the rest of the honest folks another tool for discerning the real from the fake.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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I really appreciate this thread as I have turned down some fixed bales because the chinstrap didn't look right. It was difficult to tell if the strap had been replaced or not. This will give me another clue.

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
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Guest haiku_d'etat

HELLO , THIS IS A QUESTION NOT A REPLY. HAS ANYONE ENCOUNTERED WW2 FIXBALES WITH HAND SEWN BOX STICHES? I PURCHASED 2 AT AN AUCTION THIS WEEKEND, BOTH WITH ST.CLAIRE LINERS. THE PAINT ON THE HELMETS IS ABOUT MINT ON BOTH HELMETS AND LINERS.THE FIRST HELMET HAS O.D. 7 CHINSTRAPS WITH ALL STITCHING HAND DONE .ON THE OTHER HELMET THE STRAP MATERIAL IS KHAKI TYPE BUT ABOUT AN 1/8 OF AN INCH WIDER THAN MOST STRAP MATERIAL I'VE SEEN. IT IS THE SAME AS THE OTHER IN THAT THERE ARE NO BARTACKS AT ALL ON EITHER STRAP.

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hey Mr-X

 

I was setting up a customers new electronic buttonhole machine a couple of day ago to do a bartack and found i can make the stitch look like what ever i want, it is a buttone hole machine, so it puts button holes onto shirts (also the same as the foliage slits on helmet covers) but it also does a bartack, the machine doesnt work on the amout of stitches like a machanical machine, it works on the distance between stitches, every part of the stitch i can change,

 

"If you count the stitches on the top or the bottom you will find that it numbers 15.

If you count the ones along the top or bottom of the bar tack on you M-1 chin strap you will find that it number more like 20."

 

i can program the distance between the top/bottom stitches (as quoted above) down to 0.1mm, that is super close, closer than on a WW2 M1 chinstrap.

 

now all the fakers would need is to sell a real, id'd M2 helmet so they could buy this machine....... lol

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HELLO , THIS IS A QUESTION NOT A REPLY. HAS ANYONE ENCOUNTERED WW2 FIXBALES WITH HAND SEWN BOX STICHES? I PURCHASED 2 AT AN AUCTION THIS WEEKEND, BOTH WITH ST.CLAIRE LINERS. THE PAINT ON THE HELMETS IS ABOUT MINT ON BOTH HELMETS AND LINERS.THE FIRST HELMET HAS O.D. 7 CHINSTRAPS WITH ALL STITCHING HAND DONE .ON THE OTHER HELMET THE STRAP MATERIAL IS KHAKI TYPE BUT ABOUT AN 1/8 OF AN INCH WIDER THAN MOST STRAP MATERIAL I'VE SEEN. IT IS THE SAME AS THE OTHER IN THAT THERE ARE NO BARTACKS AT ALL ON EITHER STRAP.

 

could be a battle field repair job (not likely to find a machine in the field or out of the states to sew on new chinstraps i would think) or a post war fix on a helmet that was missing chinstraps maybe

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hey Mr-X

 

I was setting up a customers new electronic buttonhole machine a couple of day ago to do a bartack and found i can make the stitch look like what ever i want, it is a buttone hole machine, so it puts button holes onto shirts (also the same as the foliage slits on helmet covers) but it also does a bartack, the machine doesnt work on the amout of stitches like a machanical machine, it works on the distance between stitches, every part of the stitch i can change,

 

"If you count the stitches on the top or the bottom you will find that it numbers 15.

If you count the ones along the top or bottom of the bar tack on you M-1 chin strap you will find that it number more like 20."

 

i can program the distance between the top/bottom stitches (as quoted above) down to 0.1mm, that is super close, closer than on a WW2 M1 chinstrap.

 

now all the fakers would need is to sell a real, id'd M2 helmet so they could buy this machine....... lol

 

Lol. True. We had one like that at work. It wasn't a button hole machine but a electronic bar tack. It was a very good machine. You are dead right on the cost. It something like 6 to 8K. But in my opinion even its best bar tack wasn't quite like an original.

We may have to do some research to find out exactly which machines machines were used by McCord.

Written contributor to French Militaria Magazine, UK World War II Re-enactors Magazine &The Karkee Web Research Team.

Remembering the service of:
9095 Pte Alfred Fredrick NEWLAND, 7th Field Ambulance, 2 Division, AIF. WIA 16/11/16 France.
436 Private Albert McCANN, B Company 8th Battalion AIF. Enlisted 26/8/14. Killed in Action 17/6/15 Gallipoli.
VX24056 Gunner George Edward McCANN, 2/3 Composite Anti Aircraft Regiment. Enlisted 7/6/40. Discharged 3/8/44. Served in Australia and New Guinea.



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Lol. True. We had one like that at work. It wasn't a button hole machine but a electronic bar tack. It was a very good machine. You are dead right on the cost. It something like 6 to 8K. But in my opinion even its best bar tack wasn't quite like an original.

We may have to do some research to find out exactly which machines machines were used by McCord.

 

this one cost closer to 10K and im sure i could get it to do a really good job on bartacking a WW2 chin strap, only problem would be aging.

 

i would imagine the machines used by McCord would have been ones that parts were easy to get hold of (not from other countrys say germany), you wouldnt want them breaking down and holding up the works. singer sounds like a good place to start ( a quick search shows they had a 48 stitch one but no date on that), also brother and Union Special. will make some inquiries, some of the people in this trade were proberly around back then lol, or know what was around back then.

anyone know of any videos or pictures of helmet manufactoring? that could prove helpfull

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  • 3 months later...

I'd like to add that on current bar tacks, you can peel apart the canvas and see the threads (just barely). On originals, you can't see the threads as the stitching is so tight. I learned this from a surplus store owner and collector who has years of experience in the business. Try it out sometime....

 

Rob

Exhausting & Dirty Work



Interested in buying identified or re-searchable Korean War uniforms, groupings, medals and more.

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unless the person doing the stitching is in the know, loose stitching is just because the tension isnt set right (well for the desired effect anyway) could be a really good way of picking say 80%-90% of fakes, if you have them in hand, not a bad piece of information though, cheers

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  • 8 years later...

Unfortunately, I dont think this a reliable factor in authentication. The stitching could be factory stitched or field stitched. If field stitched it could be by the soldiers hand, Quartermasters or by a seamstress in England, France or Burma. The thread spacing can vary due to heat,cold or humidity or rain. Even the manufactured stitching could vary based on the machine, operator or thread or needle gauge. Their are too many factors to start using this as an authentication method.

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Unfortunately, I dont think this a reliable factor in authentication. The stitching could be factory stitched or field stitched. If field stitched it could be by the soldiers hand, Quartermasters or by a seamstress in England, France or Burma. The thread spacing can vary due to heat,cold or humidity or rain. Even the manufactured stitching could vary based on the machine, operator or thread or needle gauge. Their are too many factors to start using this as an authentication method.

 

I respectively and wholeheartedly disagree, while all the other factors you mentioned do come into play, we need a baseline to start with. That's what this is.

 

As for the stitching, the same type of machine was used on all M-1 straps and were to be sewn to specific specs as detailed by the military. If you look at 10 helmets with original bartacking, you will find this pattern is very consistent. Field repairs is not what we were talking about here.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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I agree that the Mfr had a specific guideline for the stitching and could be used for comparison purposes.We know they were bartacked.But, I dont think it can be used in authentication of a helmet which was in theater. Their are just too many factors in play that can alter the stitchings. Water effects thread. Sweat, atmospheric and storage conditions of 70 plus years to worry about thread count and stitch spacing. I think you can get a better authentication of the straps by the hardware and the actual material and manufacture of the straps themselves not the stitch.

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I agree that the Mfr had a specific guideline for the stitching and could be used for comparison purposes.We know they were bartacked.But, I dont think it can be used in authentication of a helmet which was in theater. Their are just too many factors in play that can alter the stitchings. Water effects thread. Sweat, atmospheric and storage conditions of 70 plus years to worry about thread count and stitch spacing. I think you can get a better authentication of the straps by the hardware and the actual material and manufacture of the straps themselves not the stitch.

 

Agreed, material, hardware, row count, stitching both Bar-Tacking and field or maintenance depot repairs all are contributing factors to be considered for authentication BUT, a recent attempt at forging an original bartack has got to have a baseline to work off of which would include, type of stitching, color of thread, poly or cotton thread etc, etc, etc. There's not just one thing we look at but, again, this thread was created to give a bit more education for someone to keep in their toolbox.

 

You even said in your first introduction post quote: ...I started collecting TR but due to the influx of fraud and forgery its almost impossible to collect without going to high end dealers. So, you already know there is fraud and it has bled heavily in to U.S. helmet collecting so we need to be armed with the best information possible, wouldn't you agree?

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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Agreed, material, hardware, row count, stitching both Bar-Tacking and field or maintenance depot repairs all are contributing factors to be considered for authentication BUT, a recent attempt at forging an original bartack has got to have a baseline to work off of which would include, type of stitching, color of thread, poly or cotton thread etc, etc, etc. There's not just one thing we look at but, again, this thread was created to give a bit more education for someone to keep in their toolbox.

 

You even said in your first introduction post quote: ...I started collecting TR but due to the influx of fraud and forgery its almost impossible to collect without going to high end dealers. So, you already know there is fraud and it has bled heavily in to U.S. helmet collecting so we need to be armed with the best information possible, wouldn't you agree?

Yes, the more verified information that is available will always work toward proper authentication. I agree that the thread type used in the bartacks is 100% valuable and will certainly help authenticate. I just don't think the time and age and wear variables should be used. Much like the issues that arose from the XRF Spectrophy, applying one set of facts toward authentication may very well be completely false without taking into consideration the normal and natural aging of the thread. Like measuring the stitch spaces on a bartack that's 70 years old and is from a helmet that was in theater and comparing it to a minty example from a warehouse. Those comparisons will be skewed. That's my argument. I just don't think we can correctly and precisely come up with a foolproof baseline when the material being compared ie; cotton, is subject to so many variables.

 

If Imy looking at a helmet that was used throughout the war in Europe and the bartacks are good enough to count the thread spacing. That alone is more suspicious than a bartack that is crooked or short.

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