Burgonet

887

The equipment that filled European arsenals was quite often mass-produced, munitions-quality. In some cases this was locally made, or modified for the soldiers’ specific needs. This rather crude helmet appears to have had its original right cheekpiece removed during its working life and the edge reshaped. This permitted the wearer, presumably a musketeer, to press his cheek tightly against the weapon’s stock for better sighting. The present cheekpiece is a later addition.

Description

Steel, munitions-grade execution, hammer-rough skull (now black-painted) with high, plain comb hammered from a single piece. Interior shows significant delamination. Crude deep neck lame riveted at center & ends. Brow & riveted fall at back cut back at right during working life. This side with curved opening originally without cheekpiece, suggesting use by infantryman with longarm. Right side presently has attached cheekpiece from "Zischägge". Deep, hinged cheekpiece at left, pierced with holes. This is a relatively crudely made helmet. The rounded skull is of one piece, drawn up into a triangular-section, high plain comb. The rear of the skull extends down over the back of the neck, and is finished in a narrow integral flange to which a crude deep neck lame is riveted at center and either end. The lame has a rounded corner at the right, where the edge is inwardly turned, and extends along the curved basal edge to the straight, plain left edge. Across the base of the skull above the flange, and across the brow, is a row of domed, tinned lining rivets with roughly circular or octagonal washers within, retaining the lining band of leather. The basal edge of the brow appears to have been cut off (there is a cut-off hole visible at the right) during the helmet's working life, and has a riveted, slightly curved, pointed fall with inwardly turned plain edge, held by the same rivets which hold the lining band. The sides of the skull are cut with rounded cut outs, but these are asymmetrical; the left has a contemporaneously associated hinged cheekpiece. This is deep, curving over the front of the face, and down in an angled flange. The edge here is inwardly turned and plain, while that of the top and front is hollow flanged. The cheekpiece is pierced with five holes in a cross pattern, and is fitted with lining rivets with washers as above, retaining fragments of the band. The opening at the right is more rounded and has a bevelled edge. It is presently fitted with a pointed Zischagge type cheek piece, suspended on a pair of leathers. The rivets securing these are later, but in apparently older holes. The possiblity exists that these holes may have been two additional locations for lining rivets. The unusual construction of this helmet, seemingly authentic, suggests that it may have been a locally produced item using some readily available parts. There does not seem to have been a cheekpiece or other defense on the right side, possibly indicating that this was the headpiece of a musketeer. L cheek fits imperfectly, though it is entirely consistent in execution with the rest--perhaps a working-life replacement. L side bottom edge of neck lame is flat in final 1" to accommodate the cheekpiece. The R side is rounded off, suggesting there never was a cheekpiece here. The skull has asymmetric openings for the cheeks. The asymmetry of the peak could be an original feature, given the asymmetry of the other components.

Curator's Comments

Number "ZS13" painted in white, "82" painted in red. "ZS" number indicates "Z"eughaus (Arsenal) "S"olothurn [Switzerland]. Perhaps a locally made product.

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