Topics about collecting Pickelhauben and stuff related to imperial Germany

Pickelhaube - Modifications during 1842-1856


Introduction of the spiked leather helmet for the foot troops (except for the „Jäger“). The helmet had the following features:

  • Leather helmet with a height of about 34 to 38 cm. Metal metal fittings made of brass or nickel silver. For the Guards, the fittings were made of tomback. The complete helmet M42 weighed 900 to 1000 g.
  • The metal spike on its top was about 13 to 14 cm high. It could be replaced by a hair plume funnel for the Guards. The spike was attached to a cross fitting (called „Kleeblatt“ (cloverleaf) in Germany), which was held on the leather body by 4 screws (4 star head screws for officers).
  • Frontside, it had a large angular front visor of leather, which was reinforced all around with a metal visor trim.
  • Above the front visor was a 12,5 to 13 cm high heraldic eagle of metal, with a "FR" on its chest. This stood for "Friedericus Rex" and was worn in honor of the soldier-king Frederick-Wilhelm I. (with the exception of the old regiments 1-12, which wore an oval shield with the royal inscription "FWR" on the chest). Guard regiments wore a flying eagle with a guard star on the chest.
  • Backside was a long neck cover, also of leather.
  • In addition, at the back was a metal rear spine, which was held in place with 2 bolts. For enlisted men's helmets the fasteners were visible from the outside, for officers' helmets the rear spine was usually smooth and the threaded pins were soldered on from on the inside of the spine.
  • On the side of each was a curved chin scale, which was attached with a rosette and a set of screw with elongated decorative nut. The decorative nut was turned and decorated a little more complex for the officers. A leather cockade with a diameter of 70 to 75 mm was worn on the right side under the chinscale. For enlisted men it was a painted black disk with a white ring, officers had a silver ring.
Source: „Geschichte des Königlich Preussischen Sechsten Infanterie-Regiments von seiner Stiftung im Jahre 1773 bis zu Ende des Jahres 1856“ (published in 1857), Page 289


Source: „Allgemeine Militärzeitung“ - Band 17 (1842) - No. 114, from November 22, 1842, Page 905

Pickelhaube M1842 (Courtesy of Tony Schnurr -


Introduction of the metal pickelhaube for the cuirassiers:

  • Because the regiment was special, the helmet was tested extensively before it was introduced, which is why it took place later.
Source: „Zeitschrift für Heereskunde“, Booklet No. 175 (3/1961), Page 1 - „Die Bekleidung & Ausrüstung der preuß. Kürassiere von 1809-1918“ - Part 5 (by Georg Peschke)


Introduction of hair plumes for Guards and „Leib“-Regiments:

  • White hair plumes: For all Guard regiments (except „Jäger“ and „Schützen“) and Grenadier regiments 1 to 12.
  • Black hair plumes: For hunters and riflemen (for Guard and Line regiments), fusiliers and the 8th Infantry Leib Regiment.
  • Red hair plumes: For musicians
  • The pin of the hair plume funnels, used to attach the hair to the funnel, had a turned button for officers. This was painted black for NCOs with white hair, white for black and red hair, and was otherwise the color of the fittings.
  • The hair plume was made of horse hair, for officers (according to clothing regulations) of buffalo hair since 1896.
Source: „Auszug aus den Verordnungen für die königl. preuß. Infanterie ...“, vol. 1 (1850), page 393



Portepee NCOs and music masters received permission to wear the officer's cockade.

Source: „Dienst-Vorschriften der Königlich Preußischen Armee: Innerer Dienst - Garnisonsdienst“, Vol. 1-2, Page 69 (



Introduction of the ball (instead of the spike) for artillery, because of the injuries that occurred when the canons were reloaded.

Source: „Zeitschrift für Heereskunde“ No. 124 (1943), Article: „Aus der Frühzeit der Pickelhaube“, by Herbert Knötel - Page 2


Introduction of the woolen cockade with a diameter of 75 mm for enlisted men, as the paint on the original leather cockade did not hold well. The regulation wasn’t valid for Officers, but they often wore silk cockades in silver-black at that time.

Source: „Auszug aus den Verordnungen für die königl. preuß. Infanterie ...“, vol. 1 (1850), page 393


21.03.1848 to 14.03.1851:

(AKO was signed by the King on 03/14/1851, but the announcement was made on 03/18/1851):

At this time, the German cockade made of fabric in black, red and gold (counted from the inside) was worn on the left.

Source: Reden, Proklamationen, Botschaften, Erlasse und Ordres Sr. Majestät des Königs Friedrich-Wilhelm IV. (1851), page 13 (


Source: Deutsche Wehr-Zeitung: militairische Zeitschrift, Vol. 3 (1851), page 1739 (
Source: Deutsche Wehr-Zeitung: militairische Zeitschrift, Vol. 3 (1851), page 1774 (


With AKO of October 3, 1848, the closure of the raised chin scales was permitted by means of a "hooking device".  Initially, the locking device on the last scales of the chin scales (lh: knob (hook) / rh: eyelet) was thus only an option. In issue 175 (3/1961) of the "Zeitschrift für Heereskunde" it is further mentioned that these closures were introduced with the replacement deliveries, but unfortunately it is not mentioned when these replacement deliveries took place.

Sometime between October 1848 and 1856, however, this locking device was then introduced as mandatory. Unfortunately, I could not find the exact date or year, so I would be extremely grateful for the sending of an original source in this regard (My eMail: see imprint).

Source: „Militär-Wochenblatt“, Volume 32 (1848), page 187

Source: „Zeitschrift für Heereskunde - Year 1959-1961“, issue no. 175 (3/1961): „Die Bekleidung & Ausrüstung der preuß. Kürassiere von 1809-1918 - Part 5“, page 44


In the course of the campaign against Schleswig-Holstein, the military complained that the shiny fittings would give away their positions in battle. Therefore it was determined that the fittings of the headgear should be blackened with amber varnish in case of war.

Source: „Militär-Wochenblatt“ - Volume 33 (1849), Page 153 (



Introduction of the flat chin scales for enlisted men of foot troops (without artillery), as the curved ones made it difficult to aim the rifle. 

  • As a result, the rosette also had to be adjusted. The long, ornate, set screws were replaced by round head screws, which were now screwed up to the rosettes.
Source: „Geschichte der Bekleidung und Ausrüstung der Königlich Preussischen Armee in den Jahren 1808 bis 1878“ (1878), page 122


Source: „Geschichte der Bekleidung und Ausrüstung der Königlich Preussischen Armee in den Jahren 1808 bis 1878“ (1878), page 122

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