Helmet, Pickelhaube ; Unknown maker; 1915; WW.2018.3675


Helmet, Pickelhaube

About this object

Private William George Raymond (Ray) Duncan brought home this leather Pickelhaube from World War One.

What is a Pickelhaube?

Pickelhaube’s were an early form of German infantry helmet. King Fredrick William IV of Prussia originally designed the Pickelhaube in 1842 for the Prussian infantry. The helmet continued to be used by German forces into the First World War; early forms made in 1914 or prior were made of leather. As the war progressed, leather supplies in Germany dwindled and in 1915 the helmets were adapted to be made from sheet steel. High demand quickly changed this and the helmets began to be made from pressurised felt and even paper.

The pickelhaube provided little protection from shell fragments and made the wearer a target in the trenches. This unsuitability led to the Stahlhelm helmet replacing the pickelhaube. The Stahlhelm design focused on head protection from shell fragments and resulted in a 70% reduction in head wound fatalities.

A modified Stahlhelm continued to be worn during World War Two.

A Little on Private William George Raymond (Ray) Duncan:

Waikawa born, Ray was a sawmill hand at Te Tua when he enlisted on May 5, 1917. Joining the Otago Infantry in the 2nd Battalion, Ray was wounded near Bapaume on August 24, 1918. Discharged from the military on August 25, 1919, Ray returned to Southland where he became a member of the Tokanui Returned Swervicemens Association (R.S.A.).

The Pickelhaube is part of the Waikawa Museum's, Tokanui R.S.A. Collection.


Unknown maker

Maker Role


Date Made




Place Made

Europe, Germany

Medium and Materials

inorganic, processed material, metal, alloy, steel?
organic, animal, skin, mammal skin, processed material, leather


h 250 mm x w 180 mm x d 240 mm

Subject and Association Keywords

Military - World War One

Subject and Association Keywords


Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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