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Old 23rd September 2008, 10:54 PM   #1
Norman McCormick
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Default ?????? Helmet

Hi Guys,
I have had this helmet kicking around for a long time and assumed it is a Victorian or later copy but just in case here it is. It doesn't have the square washers usually associated with this type of helmet but I'm sure I've seen genuine examples with no washers and just the rivet ends showing. It also has an unusually shallow bowl in comparison to others I have seen including various copies ???? Any help appreciated.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 23rd September 2008, 11:03 PM   #2
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them un-articulated neck protection looks a bit odd, couldn't figure out how you could wear it. are the ear/cheek pieces hinged? what gauge metal?
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Old 23rd September 2008, 11:29 PM   #3
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It's British. We have one here at a local museum, the owner forgot it (attached head included), after one of the constant British coastal raids on the island.
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Old 24th September 2008, 06:49 AM   #4
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yes, it appears to be based on the civil war helmets of the roundhead cavalry from the english civil war,


the q. is if it's a period one or a repro. the ones i've seen could be worn, the bill woud have been horizontal, the ear pieces hinged and tied under the chin, and the rear neck protecter would hang down the neck, and be articulated similar to a japanese samurai's to allow for some movement. these would have been worn for hours on end, marching and fighting so some balance, comfort and flexibility were required.

a wall hanger would not need to be as critically made. if you can't wear it and move around in some comfort with it not trying to fall off at the slightest movement, it is likely not period, but designed to grace the walls of a victorian lord's mansion. repro's tend to be made from lighter sheet metal rather than hand forged as well.

playing devil's advocate, their were lots of variants as these could also be made locally by the roundhead village smithy who was trying more to make it look like he thought it should be than the army would have liked, but as in all low bidder supply systems, it's the trooper at the end of the supply chain that gets stuck with the simplified 'variant'.

here's a three-bar type, note the bill is hinged to allow it to be raised and note the ear pieces. this is a repro.


a helmet similar to post 1's.

Last edited by kronckew : 24th September 2008 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 24th September 2008, 06:37 PM   #5
Jim McDougall
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In looking at this most interesting helmet, though again emphasizing armour is way outside my usual field of study, I could not resist trying to find out more on these 'lobstertail' helmets. I agree that this example seems more a piece to carry the image rather than functional use. The skull seems far too shallow to securely protect the head, and the neckguard projects outward too much (though if it is correctly articulated as the Continental examples, perhaps this is shown extended). The number of lames (articulated sections) in the neckguard here is five, most German and Dutch examples have four. The lack of washers and securing guides inside the interior is apparant as noted.

The examples of these helmets from the Low Countries and Germany were apparantly imported in number just before or during the Civil Wars, according to David Blackmore in "Arms and Armour of the English Civil Wars", Royal Armouries, 1990, p.17). He also notes that many of these have 'L' or 'M' marks stamped on the nasal bar.

The English versions of these helmets are as shown by Kronckew, and were called three bar pott's for the triple bar faceguard. The neckguard on these was usually comprised of simulated lames, rather than articulated as the Continental forms, as I understand.

Interestingly I also discovered that these mounted troopers were known as harquebusiers, as noted by Mr. Blackmore, which is yet another fact I was entirely unaware of.

Thank you for posting this interesting helmet Norman! Whether an authentic period piece or not, it is a good looking example, and certainly did compel me to look further into these, which is really why I'm here, to learn!
Thank you!!

All the best,
Jim
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Old 25th September 2008, 11:59 AM   #6
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All of the rivet heads look to be identical. Is that so? If you look inside, is there any indication that there are remains of leather (from the lining) under them?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi Guys,
I have had this helmet kicking around for a long time and assumed it is a Victorian or later copy but just in case here it is. It doesn't have the square washers usually associated with this type of helmet but I'm sure I've seen genuine examples with no washers and just the rivet ends showing. It also has an unusually shallow bowl in comparison to others I have seen including various copies ???? Any help appreciated.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 25th September 2008, 07:55 PM   #7
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Hi Guys,
The ear pieces are articulated with thick leather hinges. The metal is on average about 15mm thick. If I put the helmet on the earpieces are in the correct position for my ears. The lames are articulated but the curious support attached to them stops them coming nearer to the neck. The inside is painted black and it is most certainly handmade, no sign of machine cut or formed parts. The earpieces have provision for ties to secure onto the head. I cannot find evidence of a leather liner but if one were to wear an arming cap or similar I'm sure that would work well. The rivet heads are not identical with some showing signs of file type marks. I think the nasal bar screw might be hand cut rather than machine cut. I would be a bit more sure of this helmet had the bowl been deeper and more signs of machine working would have convinced me of a Victorian copy, but if you are making a copy why make the bowl shallow why hand work everything and why the odd support on the lobstertail??????. Many thanks to all who have taken the time to comment and voice their ideas, keep them coming.
My Regards,
Norman.
P.S. If anybody wants specific photos please just ask.
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Old 25th September 2008, 08:17 PM   #8
Jim McDougall
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[QUOTE=Norman McCormick]Hi Guys,
The ear pieces are articulated with thick leather hinges. The metal is on average about 15mm thick. If I put the helmet on the earpieces are in the correct position for my ears. The lames are articulated but the curious support attached to them stops them coming nearer to the neck. The inside is painted black and it is most certainly handmade, no sign of machine cut or formed parts. The earpieces have provision for ties to secure onto the head. I cannot find evidence of a leather liner but if one were to wear an arming cap or similar I'm sure that would work well. The rivet heads are not identical with some showing signs of file type marks. I think the nasal bar screw might be hand cut rather than machine cut. I would be a bit more sure of this helmet had the bowl been deeper and more signs of machine working would have convinced me of a Victorian copy, but if you are making a copy why make the bowl shallow why hand work everything and why the odd support on the lobstertail??????. Many thanks to all who have taken the time to comment and voice their ideas, keep them coming.



Great description of the piece Norman, and it would seem that these elements may suggest it is of the period as far as I would think. In the limited reading I did I recall notes describing the many imports brought in from the Continent to supply troops during the Civil War period in England. Might this suggest that the production of armour during these times in England was unable to meet the need? If so, possibly local smiths or artisans might have tried to produce ersatz armour to individuals activating themselves in local militia type units.
I would expect that those more familiar with armour, especially of this period and more specifically English, might be able to confirm other such possible variants, and offer thoughts on this idea.

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 25th September 2008, 09:35 PM   #9
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Hi Jim,
Thanks for your observations I forgot to add that all the rivet holes have been punched through and not drilled.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 26th September 2008, 02:10 PM   #10
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Is it possible that the support bands under the lobster tail were added later for display purposes? The rivets on the tail appear to be more rounded than on other parts of the helmet.
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Old 26th September 2008, 08:57 PM   #11
Norman McCormick
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Hi Mark,
This had crossed my mind but the rivets are not significantly different to the ones on the visor and the metal of the 'support' and the lames look contemporary to one another. On very close inspection the 'support' is the mechanism that is keeping the lames together as they are not riveted to each other but each one individually to the 'support'. The more I look at this the more it becomes an enigma sometimes 'Victorian copy' sometimes older. I have asked myself why rivet the lames to a support for display it would display alright without the support, all the genuine ones I've seen don't need extra support for display. If it was meant to be used I can only think that maybe it is designed to accommodate some other item of clothing and/or armour or the smith was making from memory and not from plan/example. Keep the ideas coming, I would like to get to the bottom of this if possible. Thanks again guys.
My Regards,
Norman.
P.S. There is a hole in the crown of the helmet where a ring should be and there is also a hole at the rear possibly for a plume holder ?

Last edited by Norman McCormick : 26th September 2008 at 09:52 PM. Reason: More Info.
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Old 27th September 2008, 07:59 PM   #12
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Dont know much about these so for what its worth I read some neck guards were made rigid later in the evolution maybe thiswas retrofitted for some reason.
Also the plate that connects the peak is really well done havent seen another like that.
Nice piece
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Old 29th September 2008, 12:15 AM   #13
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Default These were 'Capelinas' of the lobster tail type

Hi Norman,
Can i add here two more ( genuine) examples for your perusal?
The first one has four articulated blades. This is such one used during the British civil war, having been largely imported from the Nederlands, to equip the Royal troops.
The second example was a variation used by Harquebusiers and Light cavalry afected to the Parliament, headed by Cromwell, during English Republican revolution (1643-1660). Most probably a specimen produced in London by the couple Rafe Boulter and Silvester Keene, whom worked together until 1649. In this case the lobster tail is fix, showing five false blades. There is a 'porte plumes' on the bowl back. The perspective of this model gives us a clear idea why Cromwell troops were known as roundheads ... a term already quoted above.
(Text and pictures from 'As Armas e os Barões' by Eduardo Nobre).
I hope these examples are of minimum interest.
Fernando
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Old 1st November 2008, 07:38 PM   #14
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Hi Fernando,
First of all please accept my apologies for not acknowledging your post sooner, I've been a bit indisposed for a while. These examples are indeed of interest and it has amazed me while investigating this helmet just how much variation there is in these Lobstertail/Roundhead helmets.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 1st November 2008, 07:54 PM   #15
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Allways at your disposal, Norman
Fernando
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Old 1st November 2008, 07:58 PM   #16
Norman McCormick
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Fernando, My Thanks, Norman.
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Old 1st November 2008, 10:34 PM   #17
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If you put it on your head to you get the impression that it would "work"?

In the final analysis, if a piece does not fit/protect/provide comfort it is probably bad.
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Old 2nd November 2008, 12:31 PM   #18
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Hi Ed,
Using an arming cap or a padded liner and it would work just fine so I suppose there is a reasonable chance that it was made for use and not display.
Regards,
Norman.
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