Titanic/White Star Line Captain's Hat?


kevalie

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Sep 18, 2013
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Hi all, recently acquire a Titanic / White Star Line Hat, don't know much about it except that it's manufactured by Holter-Uniformen in Berlin and looks to be in excellent condition. Would appreciated if someone give me some information on it.

the rank of the badge
the age of the hat
who the manufacturer is, "very important German tailor during WW2. They made uniforms and caps of very high quality" which is all I got from the net
and the value

Thanks for your time.
 

Jay Roches

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Apr 14, 2012
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I'm sure your first question was the same as mine -- why would a WSL cap be made in Germany? I don't think a British merchant mariner would crown his head with a German-made cap even in 1912, and certainly not after 1914. Even if the cap were German, it would have had to bear the label "Made in Germany," which was required on all goods imported to the UK from Germany after 1887.

There is a page here with a better image of the Holter-Uniformen mark. (WARNING: The link is to a site that sells reproduction Nazi equipment, as used by reenactors. It is not a neo-Nazi site but it contains Nazi symbols and may therefore be illegal in Germany.) The mark shown here seems to be printed with a modern typeface, whereas the original is hand-drawn.

The clear material would have to be celluloid if this is pre-1945 -- there's no easy way to tell if it's vinyl or polyethylene or HDPE unless you know those materials by touch.

Now, we are left with one intriguing possibility, but unfortunately it also doesn't pan out. Since this was made in Germany I thought perhaps it was a prop for the 1943 film. However, stills from that film show that the oak leaves on the cap extend just a little further, almost touching, and there is no crown.

I can't give a 'verdict' but a guess is that it was made by a company that makes reproductions of German WW2 equipment, and meant for sale to people who know the Holter firm (which really did make a lot of Nazi-era uniforms).
 

Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 2008
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NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
It's a captain's hat but it is a fake.

The one worn by Captain Smith did not have a gilt button on each side of the chin-strap across the skip. That is a continental and American style not usual in the British MN which copies the style of the RN See here
cap1.jpg

cap1.jpg
 

John Terry

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Apr 15, 2012
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Can anyone confirm whether the Titanic's officers would have had a cap with a navy blue top, or with a white top (as per Jim's picture)? So far I've seen very varying and contradictory depictions.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello John.

The white top was detachable. It was made of white cotton with an elastic opening.. a bit like a ladies shower cap. It was worn in summer or in the tropics. The uniform order of the day would be posted on the messroom notice boards.
here's a couple of examples:

Summer.JPGsummer and winter.jpg

Summer.JPG


summer and winter.jpg
 

Jay Roches

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Apr 14, 2012
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Hello Jim,

I've noticed that most group photographs of the officers/engineers have them with the white cover on. Is it considered more formal or perhaps just more photogenic?

kevalie -

The 2012 Irish/German coproduction "Saving the Titanic" has everyone wearing caps with the gilt buttons which Jim said are a continental fashion. However, the captain never appears in that movie. It's just possible that this was made as a prop for that production, but it wouldn't surprise me if this was something you could buy at, say, a museum gift shop. The Holters-Uniformen mark and the gilt buttons make it fairly certain it was made in Germany or at least made to be sold in Germany.

Holters-Uniformen was owned by Wilhelm Holters and made uniforms for the Third Reich. He had two shops in Berlin, one at Wilhelmstraße 49 (Berlin W8, in the old government quarter) and one at Tauentzienstraße 16 (Berlin W50, at the beginning of the famous shopping district the Kurfuerstendamm). They are no longer in business and judging by the location of the shops both were probably destroyed in the war. (That mark isn't authentic, I'm just giving more information on what Holters-Uniformen was.) Again, the caps used in the 1943 German film were very different from this one.
 

Jim Currie

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Not not really Athlen. I think you may find that the Company had some regulation which stated that white covers were to be worn between one date and anothet in late spring, summer and eary autumn (fall) if the temperate zones and when wearing whites in the tropics. I guess your photographs were taken in the UK during May to September.
 

kevalie

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Sep 18, 2013
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Thanks for the inform guys, am I correct to state that the hat is a reproduction of a reproduction, I have to say it is pretty well made.
 

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