ITEM# 01082011-1
Description  Swiss Fireman’s Helmet, ca. 1900
Price $ 135.00


Original Swiss fireman’s helmet, ca. 1900-1945, in complete and most excellent condition. We originally purchased this helm to plunder for parts, but once it arrived a quick glance determined that it boasted too much integrity to be sacrificed, and that such an honest piece should be preserved and appreciated in a public or private fire equipment collection.

The helmet’s bombe or shell is of stamped steel, with separately affixed comb, visor, and rear cape of the same material. In combination they present the distinctive Swiss sapeur pompier profile. The exterior paint finish is flat black, with scarlet detailing on the comb and beading strip, and brass trim reinforcing the visor and cape edges. The letters “EV,” 1 ½” tall, in chased “white metal” adorn the helmet’s front. The 5/8” creased bridle leather chinstrap with iron frame buckle, affixed with stamped brass lionhead sidebuttons completes the exterior.

The bombe’s interior is painted tan, while the visor and cape undersides are enameled emerald green. The six-fingered liner is of natural russet sheepskin and, inexplicably (especially for the Swiss) is installed backwards, with the sewn seam at the helmet’s front. Unusually, the liner is still equipped with its original drawstring—a black cotton, aiglet-tipped shoelace. While excellently executed, tiny brushstrokes reveal that all paint finishes, inside and out, have been meticulously hand-applied.

The helmet does show some slight wear, and there is a small dent atop its comb, but its overall condition is better than excellent. All paint finishes are at least 95%, and the chinstrap and liner leathers are supple, sound, and undamaged. Furthermore, all parts match perfectly, and it’s obvious that this helmet’s components have traveled through life’s adventures together since the helmet was new, a century ago. We see a lot of helmets of many varieties in the course of year, but few boast this kind of integrity.

This piece would be representative of a standard Swiss fire helmet of the early 20th century if it bore the Geneva Cross on its front. However, the letters “EV” are an atypical puzzlement. No canton bears a name which could possibly be represented by those initials, so do they denote some town or village? Further research will undoubtedly reveal the answer, but in the meantime, this is just one very excellent, bargain-priced Swiss fire helmet.