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3-piece navy DB with swappable buttons


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#19 Svenn

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 03:57 AM

I did some research, and they are from the period of the Deutsches Reich (1871 till 1918).

I find these antique pieces more interesting that contemporary buttons. There is so much more history and culture behind them than a modern replica from H&S. Also, these buttons in particular are by far more characterful than H&S's selection, and far cheaper (less than 5 Euros for all six). I also imagine them to be more quaintly made (they have words like "extra fein" and "feuervergoldet" stamped behind) I think there is no harm in giving these historied pieces a new active life. They would give my navy blazer congruousness to its category of garment.

:unsure: I dunno, I would say the negative stigma associated with that period is still too prominent to make it a distant historical curio. That was a very militaristic period for Germany (if they ever had a non-militaristic era) that saw the initiation of the First World War and was the precursor to Hitler's, who was a soldier then, Third Reich. There are a few WW1 veterans around and plenty of older people who were strongly affected by the period as children or infants. Many white supremacists in the U.S. fly flags from the Deutsches Reich (black cross on white field) and wear their helmets and uniforms. Sure nobody is going to notice your buttons, but I personally wouldn't want that on my suit just from my own perspective.

Can you find buttons from other slightly more banal navies from that period? (NZ navy? :p )

#20 greger

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 07:34 AM

If you look at the jacket thread on the apprentice forum,look at the jacket that i am making, you will see that the cloth which is very similar to what Hymo has bought is falling apart as the jacket is being made. I got this cloth from the above mentioned e bay seller. Your tailor will either refuse to make it (if he has any sense) or charge quite a bit extra for something that will not last five minutes. In my opinion Hymo, put it down to experience and get rid of it. As soon as i am done with that jacket it will go straight in the dustbin.


Give it to Good Will or Salvation Army. Somebody might get a couple of good days use out of it.

#21 Sator

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 09:39 AM

Can you find buttons from other slightly more banal navies from that period? (NZ navy? :p )


Oi! Watch it. I grew up in NZ :) Ever since the death of about ten thousand ANZACs (Australia-NZ Army Corp) fighting patriotically for King and Empire at Gallipoli during WWI symbols of active military service have been held in profound respect in Australasia.

If the OP wants an emotive response from locals then perhaps the Imperial Japanese Navy might be an idea. Otherwise I would suggest the Swiss navy instead.

#22 Mr. Sandstad

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 09:48 AM

Merchant-navy buttons are also an option. For instance as seen here.

#23 jruley

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 11:30 AM

Many white supremacists in the U.S. fly flags from the Deutsches Reich (black cross on white field) and wear their helmets and uniforms.


I've never heard of such groups in the US using Imperial German symbols.

Edited by jruley, 19 January 2010 - 12:59 PM.


#24 I.Brackley

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 08:54 PM

I've never heard of such groups in the US using Imperial German symbols.


Me neither. The Empire was cosmopolitan, aristocratic and the scene of some of the most progressive political and radical artistic currents in Europe (all of which co-existed alongside the Anglo-Saxon boogey-man of Prussian millitarism) i.e. not the sort of thing the neo-facist/racist right have much sympathy for.

Svenn,
indeed everyone on the Earth today can say they are living with the fallout from WWI, although most are blissfully ignorant of it. At last count there were about 6 WWI veternas still living so I doubt anyone who lost a friend at Jutland in '16 or drowned on the Lusitania will be encountered on the street.
This period in time is (regrettably) as removed and remote from our day and age as Napoleon's was for the generation of 1890-1900.
These are relics of a vansihed age and quite free of any "quasi-Teutonic" motifs liable to lead to misunderstanding. An eccentric choice to be sure, but a safe one. I personally approve but I'm a student of history so I'm biased.


.......and with that I think I hear Sator comming to get things back on topic :Nail Biting:
"The possibilities that exist in the portrayal of personality constitute the strongest, and in fact the only unanswerable argument for the supremacy of Custom Tailoring"

-F.T. Croonborg, c. 1917

#25 hymo

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 12:55 AM

Me neither. The Empire was cosmopolitan, aristocratic and the scene of some of the most progressive political and radical artistic currents in Europe (all of which co-existed alongside the Anglo-Saxon boogey-man of Prussian millitarism) i.e. not the sort of thing the neo-facist/racist right have much sympathy for.

Ian, I am very attracted to your description of this period! It's great to have buttons that hark back to it.

Edited by hymo, 20 January 2010 - 01:11 AM.


#26 Svenn

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 05:33 AM

Me neither. The Empire was cosmopolitan, aristocratic and the scene of some of the most progressive political and radical artistic currents in Europe (all of which co-existed alongside the Anglo-Saxon boogey-man of Prussian millitarism) i.e. not the sort of thing the neo-facist/racist right have much sympathy for.

I give examples below. I quite agree there were progressive political and artistic movements in Germany at that time, but we're talking about a military uniform here, not the fedora of some Berlin painter. It is true that Germany, even the military, was not as racist then (I believe there were many Jewish generals or at least leaders in the Prussian army), but Hitler and consequently subsequent generations of ignorant white supremacists have equated Imperial Germany to the forerunner of Third Reich. As a historian you would probably know better than me, but I have always assumed that Imperial Germany was sort of the symbol of aggressive war and the militant spirit, everything Europe is presently trying to get away from. True there are few WW1 veterans left, but the stigma of the age is still strong. My grandpa fought if WW2 and still refuses to ever set foot in the country, or own anything associated with them, and I have a great uncle in Norway who thinks the same. In respect for those old codgers I wouldn't be caught dead with Reichsmarine buttons on a jacket. I'm a bit of a romantic though and hold a grudge for a long time, so I'm also biased. :)

The two middle flags are the civil ensign and man-of-war flags of WW1 Germany:
Posted Image

The WW1 man-of-war flag in detail, available on a t-shirt at "Aryanwear".com:

The WW1 'Kaiser helmet' used by motorcycle gangs and some white-supremacists:

Posted Image

Edited by Sator, 20 January 2010 - 09:43 AM.
removed external link - Sator


#27 I.Brackley

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 07:30 AM

Sator probably dosen't want this to get derailed any further so this will be my last public comment on the matter.

Svenn's position is entirely valid, besides having correctly identified a regrettable misappropriation of symbolism.
Much boils down to how comfortable one feels cherry-picking in the past from the peace and safety of the present. This comfort is in large part dictated by locus.

In a final defence of hymo's choice of buttons, if he had not revealed their origin I for one would have only ever seen brass buttons with an anchor motif with a sunburst. On a modern-cut civilian jacket they would be akin to a gaudy-coloured undercolar melton or lapel pad stitches done in hot pink (there's a picture somewhere online of just such a thing): a bit of secret whimsy known only to the bespeaker. :Secret: ......and perhaps a handful of naval historians with better than 20/20 eyesight.
"The possibilities that exist in the portrayal of personality constitute the strongest, and in fact the only unanswerable argument for the supremacy of Custom Tailoring"

-F.T. Croonborg, c. 1917

#28 Sator

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 07:58 AM

Yes, we are getting a bit off topic but I guess Svenn is trying to protest that we should pay respect to the terrible history of the 20th century. Nor was Malaysia spared of involvement. Millions died in these awful conflicts and for civilians to display the military symbols and insignia of this period as a joke is really disrespectful.

In so far as the discussion of display of medals, and military uniform are within the realms of the subject of "dress", I am not going to put my moderator's foot down, unless it gets a bit out of hand.

#29 Sator

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 08:07 AM

It is true that Germany, even the military, was not as racist then (I believe there were many Jewish generals or at least leaders in the Prussian army)


During WWI there was a disproportionately large number of Jewish volunteers, who signed up in service of Kaiser and Vaterland in the hope of being sent to the Eastern front where they could teach the Tsar a lesson for the mistreatment of Russian Jews. You see this on the names of the tombstones of fallen German WWI soldiers. The heavy losses inflicted on the Imperial Russians was one of the main precipitants of the Russian Revolution.

#30 jruley

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 09:22 AM

I'm well aware of the consequences of thread digressions so this will also be my last comment.

Svenn's post makes it sound like the US is overrun with armies of "Skinheads" flaunting Imperialist symbols and chanting "Hoch der Kaiser!". We do have a white supremacist fringe element, but they are far more likely to be seen with Klan symbols or Nazi emblems. If it wasn't for the Nazi flags in the first picture, I'm sure most Americans' reaction would be "what kind of flag is that?"

I didn't look at the "Aryanwear" page (nor will I), but I'm quite sure they have more sinister things for sale than Imperial German flags. And the helmet is just a pathetic joke. It's clearly WWII shape, spikes were only worn on the prewar dress helmet -- and I'm sure they have a choice selection of skulls, Klan badges and fantasy daggers as well.

Context is everything. Personally I have no problem with the wear or display of memorabilia from any regime or time period in the proper historical context. I live not far from the National Museum of the US Air Force. We left the swastikas on the German planes and artifacts there -- we don't want anyone to be able to pretend they weren't there in future. Those who forget (or sugar-coat) the past are condemned to repeat it.

#31 Sator

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 09:45 AM

BTW I've removed that eternal link to a rather nasty website. Having links like this really only helps them by promoting their status in a Google search.

#32 hymo

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 01:01 AM

I've never had a vest made before. I suppose it should be without lapels and SB? It's sort of superfluous with a tropical DB, isn't it, considering it can hardly be seen.




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