Hello everyone I'm new here and am very interested and indeed curious about the construction materials used in WW2 German military peaked caps (Schirmmütze).
My interest goes back to childhood as I grew up in an island that was occupied by German forces from 1940 – 1945 and which served throughout the war as a R & R area for thousands of front line troops including the SS.
Up until the late 1970s – mid 1980's the remnants of the German occupation was everywhere including uniforms, caps, weapons etc etc, in fact everything an army carries with it.
Now to the point of this thread. Over the years my friends and I had accumulated quite an arsenal of relics including uniforms and caps of all descriptions including several Waffen SS walking out visors and can quite clearly state that contrary to the dogma held to by many `experts' regarding the visor's on these caps, many that I owned and or handled were 100% made of plastic – yes plastic and yet very little credit is ever given to this fact which I find odd given the fact that the Germans were extremely short of rubber throughout the war and many materials derived from plastic were indeed incorporated into the manufacture of caps, Rayon and synthetic sweat bands being just two.
In fact both the Germans and allies had been using plastic since the early 1900s and as such well understood its applications (just think of the plexiglass on fighter and bomber aircraft).
Having owned several WW2 manufactured caps that bore plastic visors I became curious and trawled the web where I have found several references which although probably infuriating to the so called `experts', identify plastic visor's in both Algemene and Waffen SS caps. Similarly, the world famous authority the Imperial War Museum London hold quite a collection of original German WW2 regalia and are quite explicit and detailed in their descriptions and have many WW2 German visor caps porting fiber, leather, rubber and you’ve guessed it `plastic'.
I hope the above is of interest . Redcoat
02-07-2016 12:30 PM
Welcome to the Forum , Where is this Island of Plastic Peaks located ?
what exactly do you mean when you say plastic: celluloid or some other wood-based material or some poly-whatsoever petrol based plastic?
Could you post some photos of these caps? Are there any markings on these peaks/visors? Which colour are they at the underneath?
A bold post for a person new to the forums.
I am not a "so called expert" as you describe, but I do consider myself a specialist, as I specialize in only visor caps (or "peaked caps" as they are called across the pond), and have done so for a few years.
In all those years, I have never seen a visor made out of "plastic".
Vulkanfiber yes; pressed & lacquered cardboard, yes; composite cellulose materials, yes; but never plastic.
Plastic is easy to distinguish from the aforesaid by touch, feel, and the presence of injection-molding marks.
The easiest "tell" is that plastic does not burn, it melts and leaves a residue, while the others burn to ash.
It goes without saying that reasonably well-qualified collectors of peaked caps agree plastic visors are a sign of post-war tampering.
That being said, I await your extensive photographic and documentary evidence of the pre-1945 use of plastic for visors....
Well I dont collect caps but I am always looking to learn, welcome to the fourm and I am looking forward to your threads, I can see this one being interesting.
Welcome to the forum. On this forum we are always interested to examine period artefacts and learn things we didn't know before, so please share with us the evidence you have gathered.
Yes welcome aboard Mr Redcoat, and.... you have our complete attention.... the floor is yours.
Hi Redcoat, welcome to the forum. We are still waiting to see these visor caps, you have our attention please supply some photos so we can share this piece of unknown history. I for one have collected quite a few British military visor caps from the RAF, ARMY & Royal Navy but can say with hand on heart that non of mine are made of any plastic, and to my knowledge, what little I have learnt from this forum and books I have never seen or herd of plastic being used in visor caps, I must have at least 30 odd visors from pre WW2 to WW2 so I am waiting for some evidence to support your claims.
I am wondering if he is getting confused with the composite cellulose materials as our Mr stonemint has mentioned.
I have been at this since 1956 and have handled a lot of schirmutze in my days. I agree that you are mistakenly identifying the material. Plastic replace bakelite and this did not happen until after WW2. I would be pleased to be in error so please show us what you are talking about.
LIFE'S LOSERS NEVER LEARN FROM THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS.