Germany - Imperial
Imperial German “Pickelhaube” M95
Here’s an 1895-model Prussian enlisted man’s spiked helmet—one of the few pieces of equipment that was standardized in the pre-war German infantry. When I first found this helmet at an antique store in Miami, it was a real wreck. All the metal bits had been removed and red satin had been glued to the leather shell. The same idiot had then punched a hole in the top of the spike and stuck in an ostrich feather for use at a costume party. I bought this sorry mess for 10 bucks. When I removed the satin (a major job in itself), it turned out that the helmet had been badly crushed at one point. I reshaped the shell and filled the cracked and missing bits with a semi-elastic car putty and then repolished it with shellac stained with black aniline dye. To my delight, many of the important metal parts (front-plate, cockades, etc.) turned up in a bag at the same antique store a few years later. An undamaged spike was found at a flea market in Paris, and the chinstrap came from Great War, a wonderful dealer in WWI militaria. I think the project turned out quite well, although a serious helmet collector wouldn’t touch this one with a 10-foot pole.