Pickelhaube Characteristics & Rank Guide
On the interior of the Pickelhaube, the differences between issue and privately purchased Pickelhauben are evident. Contrary to popular belief, a stylish exterior was not the primary concern of the wearer. The main reason for purchasing a privately manufactured helmet was for comfort. Pickelhauben are often encountered that appear to be issue on the exterior, but have privately purchased high-quality linings.
Visor Undersides
The undersides of the visors on issue helmets are plain and without any lining. On privately purchased helmets however, the undersides are covered in a cloth to simulate fine leather. Usually, the color on the front visor is green while the covering on the rear visor is red.
Click on the thumbnail picture for a larger picture and a full explanation
Issue Visor Underside
Private Purchase Visor Underside.
There are three different areas that liners fall into:
  • Rounded leather tongue issue pattern worn from 1842 to 1915. Contrary to some publications, this liner was in use for Mannschaften helmets for the entire life of the Pickelhaube, from 1842 to 1915.

  • Squared leather tongue as worn by officers until 1880. This pattern is also commonly encountered on Eigentums-helm and referred to as the "Extra" pattern. The leather is a higher quality and it was felt that this style of liner afforded more comfort.

  • Officer quality private purchase as worn after 1880. Officer quality privately purchased liners have a fine calf-skin sweatband coupled by a silk skull cap. This pattern of liner afforded the greatest comfort and was often the only upgrade a soldier would purchase when buying his own Pickelhaube.
Eigentums-helm with the "Extra" pattern or the post-1880 officer quality private purchase liners are found with, or without the green & red colored visor undersides.
Click on the thumbnail picture for a larger picture and a full explanation.
Issue Liner 1842 to 1915
"Extra" Quality Private Purchase Liner
Private Purchase Post-1880 Liner