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Ben Townsend

How to dispose of your old cap.

Only £9k? I'll take 2
Ben Townsend

It was sold for 2K a few years ago. I'd give about £20 for it I think.
Mercian Pete

Do think it's genuine?  The numerals look like old, tarnished police collar numbers.
Ben Townsend

It appears to me to be a typical example of a pageant or re-enactor's cap, tarted down for the collector's market. We have discussed this particular cap before, last time it was on the open market. Neilbelungen pointed out that the badge is from a Victorian Glengarry cap. Interesting that you recognise the numerals. One can purchase similar numerals by the bag from Crimean war site 'grey' excavations.
Mercian Pete

Are you suggesting that I might be - well "old"???   q21
Ben Townsend

If you can remember the Crimean war, I strongly recommend that you write your memoirs now. You will be guaranteed to cash in.
Ben Townsend

ben wrote:

Looks like a tatty old repro to me , not blocked, no leather sweat band and an Hussars' horse hair plume.
Lets wait on Andrew!

Can only agree it's a tatty  old thing.  

If you  look carefully at the plume  picture there's a  nice  line  of  visible machining on the  braid.

No idea why there's a seam at the junction  of the crown and body.  I've only seen that  on  re-enactor versions and poor quality theatre stuff.
Ben Townsend

I have several like this in the wardrobe. Why aren't I cashing in!

I say  that every time I see a bell-top  shako  I've made reaching 4 figures in an  auction..

Definately doing something wrong or I'm just too  nice to be a militaria dealer. Don't know what the final price was but  it came  out  of my workshop  for the  princely sum of £250

$9640 dollars  if the site  price  is to  be believed,  that's about £6,000...   and  it wasn't even a good shako,  you can  see the foot marks from the patcher and the wavey lines  of the stitching.[/url]

Strewth Andrew - that must make you feel good that it's claimed to be original and well pissed off that the money didn't come to you! You are definitely doing something wrong. Smilie_PDT

Re the Belgic per Ben :

Details quoted as:

"It has lost some of it's original shape due to the deterioration of the card frame beneath the material and I can feel that the upper card circle between the stable top circle and liner is loose."
 Sounds like Blue Peter had a bad day - should have used  'squeezy' bottles and 'sticky back plastic' !

But hey lets be fair - they're offering free P&P !!

I'm begining to  revise my  views  on the  use of  paper lining  inside  period hats,  mostly  officers, after  looking through  some contemporary evidence and  civilian hats  of the  period.

What  it definately  isn't, is a buckram or strawboard frame with a  felt cloth  over  it,  but appears to be a method  of either stiffening  or attempting to  waterproof the hat.

Reading from 1820's and   1830's accounts  of the hatmaking  process (which  is valid for the  period before as well),  hats were  universally stiffened with a vegetable matter glue  (chestnuts and boiled vegetables are usually menstioned) and  stregnthened  or waterproofed with a similar concoction using beer dregs on top of this.  
Paper seems to have been used , especially  in the crown,  as  an  additional  layer to  give stiffness, or else to prevent the slightly sticky nature  of beer dregs being a dust trap etc.

The 1822 regs make a notable  point about using  paper layers as being a poor working  practice  for stiffening and  often a mask  for  inferior work,  so by  implication it was probably used in cheaper contracting.
I've not seen  many  O/R's  with this,  but have seen officer's  with this.

I've seen regency  and bell-top officer's with  canvasing  bahind the stitches  of the leather  parts,  but  this  is probably structural  strenth  for the felt because  of the fineness of the stitching.  Rarely are they papered,  especially in the latter date  ones.

I don't think  there's enough  original  early hats avaialble to  make a conclusion,  but  I wouldn't rule  it out as being used especially as a top  reinforcement.

Glues from boiled veg and beer dregs ? I wonder how that was refined down to be clear and not spoil the felt - its bad enough controlling the seepage of shellac through our modern thin felt.

And for your interest Andrew in case you have not come across it in the reference archives yet - this was posted by Iain in the Regimental cap section - a statement attached to a Horse Guards circular 25 August 1817 :


Muscilage  is  pretty much the  forrunner  of the  brown glue that comes  in gloy bottles when I was at school.  
It's sort of a thicker version,  with acacia,  flax seed,  chestnut etc as the body and  probably  gum tragacanth added.

The beer dregs are I think  the leftover finnings  used  in clarifying beer,  things  like  iris moss and  isinglass and alginate from seaweed (these are also  muscilaginous too) and  is painted  inside as a kind  of  body coating to  keep  water  out a bit like a waterproof pva could  be  used today.
It doesn't have to be clear as  the aim isn't to be as  absorbed  into  the body fibres  of the felt as shellac is.  It's more of a seepage coating on the  insides.  
If you look at a lot  of originals you'll  see that kind  of grainy,  flakey appearance inside them.

Shellac  in alcohol is a lot thinner so penetrates through easier via capiliary action along the fibres than  the earlier stuff would, as the felts are not appreciable different  in weight  or density today.  

I've seen the copy of the 1817 instructions  (think  they get repeatted  in 1822) and  though  it might seem excessive, if your making  patent or laquered  leather  it's  not too far from what you have to  do.  
Stoning would  be a  pummice type  paste used with a pumice  or rottenstone in  place  of sandpaper today.  You do  a similar type  of work  in  French  Polishing a tabletop.

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