ID’d 1881 U.S. 7th Light Artillery Helmet – SOLD

Original (not an assembled) 7th U.S. Artillery mounted helmet identified to an English-born soldier named Thomas Ambrose.


Contact Us About This Product


This is the pattern of 1881, a fur felt body trimmed in thin black leather, and finished in stamped brass furniture. Attached is the vibrant and full red horsehair plume, and the original helmet cords, that adorn the body in heavy braided worsted wool, coming together on the left side where the cording continued down with braided tassel,  At this point, the cording was cut from and a small snap hook was applied to allow the helmet to be separated from the cording that was draped on the uniform.  This was a customary practice seen widely in photos of the period.  The lower tassels attached to the “waffles” are most likely replaced, when is unknown.  On the underside of the sweatband the manufacturer stamp shows “Wm. H. HORSTMANN CO., Philadelphia, SEPT. 22, 1888” making this one of the earlier contracts of this helmet issued during the Spanish-American War.

The exposed side of the sweatband has a handwritten name in ink identified to Thomas “Ambrose” along with a  “7” and another digit or letter. Archival copies of enlistment records (included) show that Thomas Ambrose, born in Bath, England, originally enlisted July, 1898 in Albany, N.Y. at the age of 19 with the 11th Infantry Co. C.  The English-born “laborer” served 3/4 of a year with the 11th Infantry and was discharged 4/15/99 in San Juan, P.R. with a “Very good” record.  It was in July of 1899, Albany N.Y., where he re-enlisted into the 7th Artillery Co. C and received the helmet of offer.  He served out the war with this regiment and was discharged in July, 1902 with an Excellent record of service.

Overall Condition is fine; the helmet body is sound, and shows light fading and soiling mostly around the brass. The brass is lightly toned from the original bright finish when issued. The cording and plume is in great condition with the slightest of fading, not very much fraying and just the lower tassels appear to have been replaced.

This original issued late 19th C. Regular Army Artillery helmet is a great find.

Additional information

Weight 6 lbs
Dimensions 26 × 24 × 20 in