German Sailor Headwear: Features--Chinstraps

Figure 1.--This cabinet card portrait shows an unidentified boy about 1905. The Zucartuten (goodie cone) oscfor his first day of school. He is wearing his sailor cap with the chinstrap. The tally shows a ship named after the royal family.

One of the features on sailor headwear was tghe chinstrap. Sailor headwear was often made with chinstraps because of the windy conditions encountered at sea. Without chinstraps, sailors were likely to lose their caps at sea. The chin straps were made so they could be tucked into the cap lining and not worn. As far as we csn tell, children rarely used them. We are not entirely sure why, but many children probably considered them inconvenient. Boys notoriously resist inconventient items. Mothers do not seem to have insisted they be used. Of course, not being on ships, the headwear was less likely to be blown away. One factor to consider is that many of tge photgraphs we have archived are studio shots. Not only was the wind unlikely to blow off headwear in the sudio, but the heeadwear (especially broad-brimmed hats) were often poitioned so that the headstraps could not be used.As a result, we can not prove from the photographic record that the caps and hats actually came with chinstraps, but we believe that they did. We do see a few boys wearing them. We wonder if the chinstraps on broad-brimmed sailor hats were not used more than the caps. One might think that these large hats might catch the wind and sail off. This is difficult to assess because most of our images are studio images and the chin straps would pnly be used outside the studio. We do see some chin straps with wide-brimmed sailor hats. They seem less common with caps, although asyou can see here some sailor caps were done with chin straps. .


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Created: 7:04 AM 8/12/2010
Last updated: 6:39 PM 8/19/2015