Nice to hear from Ben VK, whose sentiments (and those of F-B) on the Kaps visor I echo.
On the theme of Sonderanfertigung, another example. This is a Mueller enlisted cap of later or late make. What excitement did just such a cap cause me 40 years when I first saw one, and indeed, one like this.
Like a lot of other things..this superb cap could have disapeared into obscurity based on some of the uneducated responses to it on the WAF.
I pause on the subject of Treachery Acts and little oblong pieces of oilcloth to inquire about the Kap cap. What is it? Where did it come from? What is the (purported) controversy regarding this object.
And why is it so cheap? I have been quoted $30K for arty crushers.
And regarding fun and the hobby, or fun and anything else; fun is inversely proportional to the financial stakes of an endeavor.
Back to muetzen and other obscurities:
So the RZM had the quality control function (and profit bestowing licensing function) for the NSDAP and its sundry formations.
... And thank you esteemed F-B for the image of the RZM license. Now THAT would be a wonderful piece of memorabilia, and much rarer than of the loose sculls so coveted.
What body served said functions for the Heer/Luft/Kreigsmarine formations? As each branch would have detailed regs, I imagine it would be a branch function. IE: Heer QM inspects Heer muezten.
Okay, back to battery. Here are some factors affecting the gestalt of the Allgemeine SS visor:
1. SS uniforms regulations.
2. RZM inspection functions.
A: Created a vast service market for the muetzenmacher. An other thread mentions the 8 year apprenticeship to become one. Craftmanship declined as novice craftsmen were brought into the trade.
B. Reduced quality of available materials, IE: the 1938 order in Uniformenmarkt stating moth proof wool is no longer required in manufacturing.
4. Price controls. As caps were placed on sales prices, muetzenfabriken were forced to lower quality by using cheaper materials and cutting corners in order to remain solvent.
5. Legal decrees. Caused variations on the verbiage of RZM labels. Also eliminated makers' logos in NSDAP items.
6. Market forces. Without a desire for high end eigenenmuetzen, manufacture of same would be untenable. Considering the small membership of the "Black SS" it is amazing such variety in headwear exists at all.
Okay, long post there. Lots of questions, suppositions and thoughts.
Oh, and here is the site of a real muetzenmacher in Hamburg, his wares are of the nautical variety.
I will leave the Waffen SS cap to others more at home in this material. The cap was found in Germany, and I cannot really generalize about prices. Sometimes these things appear at a price below what the US collector group think dictates, since the world militaria market is not solely pivoted on certain all too familiar locales.
As regards all your posts above, you are fairly on target. The black cap was worn by all branches of the SS, not merely the Allgemeine SS.
The design of military uniforms is well treated in the works in German that I have cited in other threads, especially that of the Bavarian Army Museum in Ingolstadt published by Rest/Militaria Verlag in Vienna.
The RFSS set the uniform regulations for the SS, and the portion of the VA SS responsible for uniforms and equipment oversaw same. Please read the SS Befehlsblaetter. The RZM was responsible for the conditions of production of said uniforms for various reasons. Hitler ordered the elimination of trade marks so as to lessen friction about commercialization and advertising (Jewish..) and the aspect of the planned economy, the guild system, and rearmament via the Four Year Plan deserve mention, which they otherwise never receive.
You have also included some of the points I elucidated with my reading of Uniformenmarkt that are germane to the issue based on my own four decades of collecting and the minute observation of pieces in my experience.
There are many unknown unknowns in all of this, so all of this is just a guess. But it is also a hell of a lot more than unfolds on other sites, where US collectors principally (I am a citizen of the US, by the way...) dictate to others based on next to no use of the primary sources via a lopsided archaeology centered approach about the make of Nazi regalia.
Wim Saris knows much, much more about all this than do I, as does Derek Chapman, who no longer posts here for some reason.
The Beaver books have some material of merit in them, but they fall down on the strength of Mollo, that is, the link between organizational development (a complex subject) and the regalia.
The variety in black SS caps derives simply from a world that was less standardized, Fordized, Taylorized, and homogenized and otherwise made all bloody same as our own. A Mercedes Benz ca. 1938 is a far cry from that of 2008, to be sure.
This is a bridge too far for some young people, but not for me, as I can plainly recall a world of the handicrafts and was just in Serbia, for instance, where it still somehow exists. I bought a cap made in Belgrad which likely arose from the same processes we interpret here, versus having been made in some faceless Chinese sweatshop for a globalized retailer. The variety also derives from the elite status and fussy persona of Heinrich Himmler and the people in the SS whose snobbery was well reflected in the composition of German society. The tags and marks which are a source of endless amusement to me sprang from the minds of Hitler and Himmler and various dogmatic and didactic bureaucratic spirits, who also embraced eugenics as the basis of politics. All these things fit together pretty plainly, in fact.
I must read more of UM, but I have no time since I have been traveling alot and have the demands of my actual life and career.
Happy head wear and I am pleased that someone has read carefully our thread. You can get the same cap in Belgrad of likely higher quality for likely 1/20th of the price. This website in Hansastadt Hamburg is very arch and coy to be sure. Better to go to St. Pauli for the culture there.
Last edited by Friedrich-Berthold; 06-13-2010 at 05:31 AM.
I did not watch the World Cup, I must admit.
PS Truth be told, I have not actually bought a cap for nearly two years, so I am going stale.
I share another of my sources with you here, because I do not want to hold back anything.
This is an analysis of the Verwaltungsamt SS and the WVHA from the Bundesarchiv complete with many original documents of the era and also from the Nuremberg trial of Oswald Pohl and his group.
It is a wonderful source, and it contains a lot about the SS clothing economy, as well. The leading personalities in said branch of the higher SS leadership are well enumerated, and these names are to be found neither on the lord of the flies site, nor in the English language secondary works, with perhaps a couple of exceptions.
The outstanding bio of Pohl and the history of the Verwaltungsamt SS /WVHA is this work, of exceptional merit.
These works in German have been fundamental to my understanding of this minor, arcane, and picayune aspect of the SS: its black hats.
I have also posted these works many times, and none of them is especially new. However, they provide what no visit to the glamor gun show can provide, nor do the pontifications of glamor dealers who would likely not be able to find the train station in Luedenscheid the day after tomorrow, let alone figure out what really transpired there seven decades ago. These works provide the historical context, as well as the personalities, their lives and times which are still present somehow in the regalia we collect.
The hobbyist is put out by what I show you here (or what Mr. Tricot writes here), because it is a threat to customs and habits which serve a limited and flawed truth.
Those of you with a genuine interest in history and with the necessary respect and awe before the complexities of the past are eager to learn more and are refreshed and engaged by the process.
Such is a source of deep satisfaction to me. Let this site continue to nourish our common interest.
When next in Luebeck I shall arrange that all the nice people here will get a marzipan SS cap replica as a sign of our comradeship. Or perhaps a marzipan RZM tag.
PS Pohl was a much more interesting historical figure than the 08/15 Waffen SS Ritterkreuztraeger so slobbered over on other sites. I do not wish to detract from the bravery of men in battle, since I spend a lot of time with such people and have even know some waschechte Ritterkreuztraeger, who were also much more interesting and subtle personages than they appear through the lens of some of these sites.