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L025861 FIRE BRIGADE OFFICIAL EM/NCO'S VISOR CAP. (Schirmmütze für Feuerschutzbeamte Mannschaften)

BACKGROUND: The German Wehrmacht, (Armed Forces), had a tradition, dating from the 1700's, of maintaining a separate branch of Administrative Official’s attached to the army to oversee all administrative functions, thus freeing up active army Officers and allowing them to concentrate on actual military matters. The Officials were responsible for a wide variety of administrative tasks from Court Martial, Librarian, Supply, Technical and Meteorological Services, to School, Barracks, and Hospital administration. On it’s inception the in 1935 the Luftwaffe, (Air-{Weapon}, Force), also established an Administrative branch of service that included the Feuerschutzbeamte der Luftwaffe, (Fire Protection Officials of the Air Force). One function of the Feuerschutzbeamte was to provide fire fighting and protection services to all Luftwaffe airbases, depots, installations etc. The Feuerschutzbeamte utilized civilian employees mainly drawn from civil fire departments. Both the officials and the civilian employees were not granted the status of soldiers but were classified as Angehörige der Luftwaffe, (Members of the Air Force). The officials and the civilian employees originally, (Circa March 1937), wore dark blue uniforms and headgear that was similar to the Feuerschutzpolizei, (Fire Protection Police), with different insignia for each group. Regulations of November 1940 altered the officials uniform to the standard Luftwaffe blue/grey, with different insignia, although the civilian employees continued to wear the dark blue uniform and headgear. The headgear worn by the officials and civilian employees included a visor cap that was basically identical to the standard Luftwaffe visor cap but in a different color and different insignia. The officials and civilian fire brigade personnel were allocated crimson waffenfarbe, (Branch of Service Color), which was displayed as piping on EM/NCO’s visor caps. The official visor cap insignia for the Feuerschutzbeamte civilian employees consisted of a right facing, political style national eagle and a wreathed canted swastika flanked by horizontally extended "wings", which was very similar to the visor cap insignia utilized by the earlier DLV, Deutscher Luftsport Verband, (German Air Sports Association), the clandestine, civilian forerunner of the Luftwaffe. From period photographs it appears there was some confusion as to the proper insignia to be used on the caps as the Luftwaffe style national eagle and/or the Luftwaffe style, winged wreath and national tri-color cockade are not uncommon. This example is features the correct, political style national eagle and the incorrect, Luftwaffe style, winged wreath and national tri-color cockade.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Nice quality, privately purchased, navy blue doeskin wool construction visor cap, features a black velvet centerband, and carmine wool piping to the crown edge and both the top and bottom edges of the centerband. The internal crown stiffening wire has been removed but an internal padding and a vertical stiffener to the interior, front center are still intact and give the cap a nice, relaxed, shape with overlapping side panels and a high, central, forward peak. The front center of the cap has a silver washed, stamped alloy construction, right facing, political style national eagle, (Circa 1936), with out-stretched wings, clutching a wreathed, canted, swastika in it’s talons. The eagle retains about 95% of it’s silver wash and is still quite clean and bright. The front center of the centerband has a silver washed, stamped aluminum alloy construction, winged wreath with a black, silver and red painted national tri-color cockade. The winged wreath and cockade retain about 90% of their respective finishes with minor age and usage dulling. Both the eagle and the winged wreath/cockade are slightly convexed to fit the contours and both are secured to the cap by prongs on the reverse. The cap has a black, patent leather chinstrap with two, black painted, vertically rectangular, magnetic sheet metal, sliding length adjustment buckles. The chinstrap is secured to the cap by two, smooth, black painted, magnetic sheet metal buttons. The cap has an extended, forward, black lacquered, vulcanfibre visor with a subtly raised lip near the forward edge. The interior of the cap is fully lined in mid-blue, cotton/rayon blend material with a clear, celluloid, sweat diamond with a small, opened ended, "pocket" near the forward edge, fully intact to the crown lining. The lining beneath the sweat diamond is well marked with the stylized, silver printed manufacturer’s name and location, "Werkstatt feiner Uniform-, Schüler- u. Zivilmützen Henry Köller Barsinghausen am Deister", (Workshop of Finer Uniform-, Student and Civil Caps Henry Köller Barsinghausen on the Deister). The interior of the cap also has a narrow, tan leather sweatband fully intact. The obverse of the sweatband has the handwritten initials, "FK", while the reverse of the sweatband has additional handwritten initials, "TP", presumably indicating it was reused. The cap has no visible size markings but the actual, interior diameter of the cap measures roughly, 54 cm, (21 1/4"). The cap is in overall very good condition with light age and usage toning, a couple of pin head sized moth nips and some light chafe wear to the black velvet centerband. The cap is roughly size 54. 

GRADE ***3/4                             PRICE $500.00

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