Imperial German Pickelhaube Evolution 1842-1915
The Model 1842 Pickelhaube
In 1842, the King of Preußen (Prussia), Friedrich Wilhelm IV introduced the spiked helmet for the majority of Preußen foot troops by AKO (Allerhöchste Kabinetts Order = A Royal Cabinet Order) of 23 October 1842.

Helmet fittings, such as the Wappen (front plate), spike and base, front visor trim, and rear spine were made in either brass or German silver (nickel). As a rule, the color of the uniform buttons worn by the unit (gilt or silver) determined the color of the fittings on the helmet.
Der Bunte Rock in Preußen. Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, (1981)
The helmet averaged 34 to 38 cm tall (approx. 15 inches) with a squared front visor which flared out at the sides. For Infantry and the majority of other foot troops, the helmet was decorated with a 14 cm tall spike supported on a cruciform spike base. For ventilation, two holes were placed in the neck of the spike which was surrounded by a brass decorative "Perlring" (literally, a ring of pearls) at the bottom.

Convex brass chinscales were worn by all ranks and were secured to the helmet with a 3cm threaded bolt with a brass head. The chinscales did not hook together and required the use of the small leather strap behind the chinscales to keep them together when not worn under the chin.

On the rear of the helmet, a brass spine secured with two brass studs ran from the spike base to the bottom of the rear visor which added strength and rigidity to the helmet body.
The line eagle Wappen (front plate) measured 125mm and carried a "FR" on the eagle's chest for most troops or "FWR" (Friedrich Wilhelm Rex) in a cypher for Grenadier Regiments .

A spread wing Garde pattern eagle Wappen with Garde star was worn by the Garde-Regt. zu Fuß Regiments. The Preußen Garde Grenadier Regiments wore the same spread wing Garde pattern eagle Wappen, but without the Garde star. The Wappen on all helmets was originally secured by two bolts that passed through the front of the plate but this was changed in 1843 to two threaded bolts soldered to the reverse of the Wappen.

Landwehr and Reserve wore a similar eagle Wappen, but a silver Landwehr Iron Cross was carried on the chest instead of the FR or FWR cypher of the line troops.
Click on the thumbnail picture for a larger picture and a full explanation.
Front Wappen
Spike Base
Side & Liner
Rear Spine
Side Post
Die Preußen Artillerie
From 1842 to 1844 the Preußen Artillerie (Prussian Artillery) wore a line infantry Pickelhaube with spike which was replaced by AKO (Imperial decree) 19 September 1844 AKO with a Kugel (ball) to represent a cannon ball. From this point on, the Artillery helmet was known as a "Kugelhelm". Like all Pickelhaube, the Artillerie Kugelhelm underwent numerous modifications from 1844 to 1915.

On the right side of the helmet a 75mm leather Preußen Kokarde in the national colors of black/white/black was worn under the chinscale for the rank of Vizefeldwebel and below. Please click HERE for a detailed list of NCO ranks. In 1844 Portepee-Unteroffiiziere were entitled to wear a 75mm leather officer's Kokarde with silver metal ring while Sergeant and below retained the 75mm Leather Kokarde.

In 1846 the Portepee-Unteroffiiziere (and officers and Fähnrich) were entitled to wear a 75mm silk Kokarde with silver painted ring although the 1844 Kokarde was used concurrently. For Sergeant and below, the leather Kokarde was replaced with a 75mm Painted wool Kokarde.

In 1848 a new "Deutsche Kokarde" was introduced to be worn on the left side of the helmet, but this was short-lived and the "Deutsche Kokarde" was terminated in 1851.