U.S. MODEL 1881 SPIKED INFANTRY HELMET

$300.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 1022-39

In 1881 the U.S. army adopted a British-style spiked helmet for foot troops. This example shows very well. Like pretty much every one on the market, it was assembled from original surplus parts at some point in the past seventy-five years. (Even the army disassembled them for shipping.) The body bears a Ridabock & Co. maker’s label specifying they are successors to Baker and McKenny, dating the manufacture to roughly 1888-90, though the helmet remained regulation until 1903. McKenney had some US contracts and aspects of the helmet are similar to those of officers, but the construction of the helmet with a cork body, fabric covering, ventilators, fabric covered band at the base, and side seams makes it likely the body was for a Ridabock New York state contract. The front plate is a regulation US infantry 1881 plate showing the crossed rifles of infantry and with a brass numeral “1” indicating the First Infantry Regiment. Above that two small holes show where a second insignia once was mounted. The helmet has a chain hook on the top rear near the spike base. This secured one end of a brass chain chinstrap that crossed the front of the helmet in a very dashing way when not in use and hooked onto one of the side buttons. The side buttons have the crossed rifles of infantry, matching the front plate. The spike and spike base are present, but the chinstrap is missing.

The interior of the helmet has the maker’s label intact at the top and edge binding and sweatband in place and secure. The body is intact and solid with no breaks, pushes, or cracks. There is some minor scuffing and a few rubs on the inside from wear. Two names in pencil and a company designation indicate it was actually issued out and used. Most of the color on the underside of the brim is there, though with some dirt from the soldier grasping it to put it on and take it off.  The exterior fabric color is excellent and there is no moth damage or staining, making the helmet display very well.  [sr]

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