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Eigetumsstück Clothing for NCOs
Occasionally, a tunic or cap will surface that is clearly Eigetumsstück (privately purchased), but stamped with a unit marking, which is often accompanied with a marking:
E or Eigentum
AKO order 28 June 1873 stated that rather than the issued Krätzchen (round visorless field cap worn by soldiers) a Schirmmütze garrison cap (visor cap) from fine material was to be introduced and issued to the NCOs. See the official army gazette 1873 below. The Kingdoms of Bavaria, Sachsen (Saxon) and Württemberg eventually adopted this same decree.

The issued Krätchen for men were not very attractive, which must have been what precipitated this order for Schirmmützen (similar to the ones worn by officers) to be purchased for NCOs who were in a position of authority. The 1873 order specifically states "each Unteroffizier" so it could be assumed that the order covers the ranks from Unteroffizier to Feldwebel, but this is not stated.
As there was no such thing as an issued Dunkelblau Schirmmütze (visor cap), unit Quartermasters were authorized to purchase these Eigetumsstück (private purchase) clothing items from tailors to be issued to the NCOs. This appears also to have been a 'local purchase' initiative as caps are almost always found with manufacturer's labels from the garrison town of the unit stamped into the interior.

Further evidence that these were unit purchased, is that surviving caps are not found with Bekleidungsamt (Army Corps Clothing Depot) stamps, which are always found in issued Waffenrocks (tunics), Krätzchen (caps) and Pickelhaubes.

As these items were purchased by the unit and were accountable to the unit budget, these items were marked with a unit stamp of some sort which explains tailor-made Schirmmütze with unit stampings.

These clothing articles should not be confused with Eigetumsstück (privately purchased items) which could be purchased by any soldier dependant upon the wealth of the individual. It was very common for soldiers of even the lowest ranks to either purchase or receive as a gift a privately purchased Schirmmütze or tunic for wear off garrison. Those items were purchased as private property and would not be unit stamped. The items in this discussion were purchased by the unit and issued only to NCOs.

As stated by the decree of 28 June 1873 above, once the cap was worn for one year, it was declared to be 2/3 of the value and given to the NCO.

Surviving examples suggest that in order to differentiate the clothing article from the unit owned items, once given to the NCO they were stamped by the unit clothing depot in the interiors with E or Eigentum (property) and removed from unit inventory. Below are three of the examples in my collection.

A German-speaking collector has kindly added that prior to 1901 there was often an "h" after the "t". So items can be found with the spelling" Eigenthum". It can be expected then, that both spellings could be found after 1901.
This example is a Schirmmütze for an NCO in Kgl. Sächs. Schützen (Füsilier)-Regt. Prinz Georg Nr.108 from Dresden as part of the XII Armee Korps.

The cap was manufactured by Julius Kühn of Dresden, and was stamped as being purchased by Schützen Regt. Nr.108 for issue to an NCO.
After one year of wear, the cap was given to the wearer and stamped "E" for property. This is one of many caps that supports the 'local purchase' hypothesis as is has been made by a manufacturer in the garrison city of Dresden.
This cap was similarly purchased from the manufacturer of B. Gehr of Feuerbach by the unit for wear by an NCO of the 1st Ersatz (replacement) company of the 1st Ersatz Battalion of Grenadier-Regt. Königin Olga (1.Württembergisches) Nr.119 based in Stuttgart as part of the XIII Armee Korps.
This cap has not been property stamped. Perhaps the stamping policy for this unit after one year of use was not followed, or the cap was never actually worn for a year which resulted in it never being given to an NCO after use.
Shown here is a M1910 Feldrock (tunic) for Riesenflugzeugabteilung 501 (Giant Aircraft Detachment 501) for an NCO with the rank of Sergeant.

The tunic was purchased from a tailor by 3rd Flieger Ersatz Abteilung (3rd Flyer Replacement Unit) and stamped as belonging to that unit.
After one year of wear, the Feldrock was then stamped with "Eigentum" and given to the NCO for continued use where he continued to wear it when he was transferred to Rfa501.
With the introduction of the Feldgrau field uniforms of 1907/10, a Feldgrau Schirmmütze (visor cap) in issue quality cloth was issued to NCOs. As issue clothing items, these caps are found with Bekleidungsamt (Army Corps Clothing Depot) stamps, unlike the Dunkelblau caps which are found with local unit markings.

Based upon the seemingly lack of standardization from the different clothing depots for the garniture marking system which graded articles of clothing based on wear, it is quite possible that the marking of privately purchased caps and tunics for issue to NCOs as property after one year of wear varied as well.
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