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View Full Version : Sekela Forage Cap With Ventilator



Ken
08-24-2006, 06:50 PM
Let me say first off that I have always felt that the brass ventilator which can be seen on quite a few surviving forage caps was an item that has been conspicuously absent in the hobby for so many years. There have been a few attempts over the years to provide hat ventilators (not thee ventilator) with poor results. I always said that if someone produced a replica based on exacting standards I would be the first in line to get one. Well I did.

I recently purchased a Sekela Type II cap with a ventilator. Besides the fact that cap itself is first rate (top quality wool of the correct color, precise patterns taken from original caps, spot on chin strap buckle, High quality workmanship, etc. etc.) all I can say is wow!! The ventilator is amazing. I know it's just a simple little brass device so why get all excited about it? Well, to be honest I've seen a number of original caps up close sporting these over the years and Nick's reproduction is spot on. I mean you can't do it any better, no way, no how. He's resurrected these little beauties in exacting detail. If your in the market for highly authentic forage cap I highly recommend one of Nick's and don't pass up the ventilators, they are amazing!

Skip Arensmann
08-25-2006, 01:16 PM
Let me say first off that I have always felt that the brass ventilator which can be seen on quite a few surviving forage caps was an item that has been conspicuously absent in the hobby for so many years. There have been a few attempts over the years to provide hat ventilators (not thee ventilator) with poor results. I always said that if someone produced a replica based on exacting standards I would be the first in line to get one. Well I did.

I recently purchased a Sekela Type II cap with a ventilator. Besides the fact that cap itself is first rate (top quality wool of the correct color, precise patterns taken from original caps, spot on chin strap buckle, High quality workmanship, etc. etc.) all I can say is wow!! The ventilator is amazing. I know it's just a simple little brass device so why get all excited about it? Well, to be honest I've seen a number of original caps up close sporting these over the years and Nick's reproduction is spot on. I mean you can't do it any better, no way, no how. He's resurrected these little beauties in exacting detail. If your in the market for highly authentic forage cap I highly recommend one of Nick's and don't pass up the ventilators, they are amazing!
Ken:
I must second what you've written, with the exception that I've not seen that many originals. I have 2 of Nick's caps, one with the ventilator. I am writing to add that the ventilator works---works very well, even in the Midwest's high-humidity heat. As you put it, amazing!

Rob
08-25-2006, 02:42 PM
I am writing to add that the ventilator works---works very well, even in the Midwest's high-humidity heat.

That's what I wanted to know - whether or not the thing actually did some good. If I'm going to buy and break in a new cap - something I don't really want to do - I want it to be worth it. Thanks for the tip.

The other thing I would like to know is whether or not it seals tightly against rain. Keep us posted!

Ken
08-25-2006, 08:00 PM
That's what I wanted to know - whether or not the thing actually did some good. If I'm going to buy and break in a new cap - something I don't really want to do - I want it to be worth it. Thanks for the tip.

The other thing I would like to know is whether or not it seals tightly against rain. Keep us posted!
Rob,
I haven't used it in the rain. It closes up pretty tight. I would probably throw my rain cover on my cap (also a Sekela and also very cool) no matter what.

Ken
08-25-2006, 08:04 PM
Ken:
I must second what you've written, with the exception that I've not seen that many originals. I have 2 of Nick's caps, one with the ventilator. I am writing to add that the ventilator works---works very well, even in the Midwest's high-humidity heat. As you put it, amazing!
Frank,

I noticed the same thing! I had the cap on today out in the afternoon sun and heat. That little ventilator works pretty good! So not only does it look cool it actually does keep the old melon cooler. I've got the Type II. I'm probably going to get a type I also with a ventilator.

17thMich.
08-26-2006, 09:19 PM
I have to agree with the others- It was almost 90 today,but my Sekela Ventilator cap kept my head so cool that I had to put my greatcoat on!;)

Ken
08-26-2006, 10:08 PM
Ha, I don't know if I would go that far!!

hoosiersojer
08-27-2006, 09:59 AM
Was wondering..,just how common were these ventilator caps?Does anyone have any background info on this interesting little feature?Thanks...




Kevin Waggoner
4th OVI,Co.B
"Union Guards"

Ken
08-28-2006, 08:24 PM
From Paul Loane & John Langellier U.S. Army Headgear 1812-1872

"A creative but now unknown Northerner devised a brass ventilator to encourage air to flow under the soldiers hot cap. It was installed by cutting a hole in the pasteboard crown, inserting the device and crimping two rings of tabs around each side to hold it in place. An outer disk could then be rotated to either open or close the holes. A number of these are known in private collections, seen in period photographs, and excavated by relic hunters, testifying to their popularity."

Since these were not a government issue item, exact numbers in use are impossible to say, however they do appear to have provided the soldier with a better, neater method of letting air into the cap and did a lot less damage to the cap than punching holes through the crown with the bayonet as can also be seen on a number of surviving caps.

ley74
08-28-2006, 08:54 PM
Well, they did it. Who out there will punch a hole in a Sekela cap?

Super Hardcore!

Ken
08-28-2006, 09:27 PM
Go for it!!

Forager
09-02-2006, 11:13 PM
Hello all. Just a couple words about Nick Sekela's forage cap "ventilator." I didn't know quite what to expect when Nick asked to borrow one of the examples in my collection to copy. It's a fairly delicate thing and I was not confident it could be reproduced today with any fidelity. Boy, was I wrong. When I compared his product to the originals on the three "vented" caps I own (used by men in the 19th Maine, 111th and 128th Pennsylvania) it was essentially identical. My congratulations go out to him for a superb job!

I was interested to learn some of you thought these devices were pretty effective. I've been a Rev. War reenactor for almost 35 years and so don't get to "experience" using repros of the CW stuff I've collected all my life. I always figured the ventilators had to be of at least some benefit since there are enough signs of their popularity. In addition to the three caps mentioned above, I have three dug specimens and three images of men wearing them (two un-ID'd and one private from the 23rd Pa.). I believe many years ago I saw a CDV of a soldier wearing one in his Pattern 1858 Army Hat as well. The vents have no markings and I have been unable to find out if there was ever a patent for them (it doesn't seem so) or who even manufactured them. The solution of those mysteries will come, I'm sure. And, if any of you know of soldiers' letters that talk about these or other "cooling" devices for caps, I'd love to hear from you.

Just a word of caution to my CW reenactor cousins: while popular, these ventilators were private purchase items and appeared "now and then." I think it would be incorrect to have an entire regiment wearing caps adorned with shiny ventilators placed in the same position as if they were issued with the headgear. And, feel free to shoot the first guy who buys five of them and installs them on top of his cap in an awe-inspiring circle!

In the meantime, enjoy the cooling, authentic breeze at the next reenactment and thank the unknown yankee who gave us the ventilator! Best wishes.

Paul Loane
co-author, US Army Headgear 1812-1872

Rob
09-07-2006, 10:35 PM
In the meantime, enjoy the cooling, authentic breeze at the next reenactment and thank the unknown yankee who gave us the ventilator!

That I shall.

I placed an order this afternoon.

Western Blue Belly
09-07-2006, 11:18 PM
Ken:
I must second what you've written, with the exception that I've not seen that many originals. I have 2 of Nick's caps, one with the ventilator. I am writing to add that the ventilator works---works very well, even in the Midwest's high-humidity heat. As you put it, amazing!

Theres still time to get in on the offer I made for your cap last weekend Skip! Lets face it, it did look better on me!!:-D

Ken Zimmer

Rob
09-15-2006, 02:58 PM
Received the Bent & Bush Commercial Forage Cap (with ventilator) from Nick Sekala today. It took a sort of roundabout route, having been briefly misplaced by the postal system, but it arrived safe and sound. He promised it to me by the 16th, and made good on that promise.

Fit, finish, and workmanship superb. Timely delivery. You can't beat it with a stick.

Rob Weaver
09-15-2006, 06:23 PM
Have you ever seen a reenactor punch holes in a cap?

reb64
09-15-2006, 09:58 PM
didn't know there was enough activity upstairs for a yankee head to overheat. then again you can use the caps as flour sifters or shower bags off duty, fill with water and hang it up and let the water trckle out underneath.

Rob
09-15-2006, 11:23 PM
Right.....

NJ Sekela
09-16-2006, 04:48 AM
Rob:

In reply to your question, enclosed is a picture of a soldier/artist who is appears to be wearing a commercial cap, judging by the amount of the "fall" of the cap. You will note on the cap you just received, that there is a difference in height.

http://www.njsekela.com/szabo/commercialcap.jpg

I am EXTREMELY grateful for all of your very kind words. It truly makes the efforts worthwhile and a pleasure to serve you.

I am, &c,

NJ Sekela,
Manf'r.
N.Jers'y.

http://www.njsekela.com
http://www.ejtsutler.com
http://www.carterandjasper.com

Guy Gane III
09-16-2006, 09:10 AM
Well, they did it. Who out there will punch a hole in a Sekela cap?

Super Hardcore!


I have....

Rob
09-16-2006, 04:05 PM
Nick:--

Did my first event with the cap today. It was a hit.

Thanks again.

Rob G

Ken
09-17-2006, 08:18 AM
Just thought an explanation of how these little things works was in order based on personal observations. One day on a trip to Gettysburg I brought two forage caps (I'm a hat junky!), one with the ventilator and one without. When I wore the cap without the ventilator my head heated up, and the heat was trapped in the cap. The sweat began to build and I started to get those annoying drips of sweat coming down from the sweatband rolling into my eyes and causing me to pull my handkerchief out every five minutes to wipe my face. When I switched to the cap with the ventilator, to put it simply, the rolling sweat ceased. The term ventilator may be a bit misleading as in conjures up a picture of air flow. What it really does is provides holes for the heat which can build up inside the cap to escape. The difference between the performances of the two caps was pretty striking.

csuppelsa
09-17-2006, 09:02 AM
Do you notice a difference when the ventilator is functioning?

NJ Sekela
09-17-2006, 10:09 AM
Guys:

Thank you so very much!

NJS

AZReenactor
09-17-2006, 01:59 PM
Have you ever seen a reenactor punch holes in a cap?

JUst a couple of weeks ago I punched four holes in a M1858 undressed Army Hat with my bayonet. It certainly helped cool down my head here in AZ.

reb64
09-17-2006, 06:39 PM
When I wore the cap without the ventilator my head heated up, and the heat was trapped in the cap. The sweat began to build and I started to get those annoying drips of sweat coming down from the sweatband rolling into my eyes and causing me to pull my handkerchief out every five minutes to wipe my face. When I switched to the cap with the ventilator, to put it simply, the rolling sweat ceased. The term ventilator may be a bit misleading as in conjures up a picture of air flow. What it really does is provides holes for the heat which can build up inside the cap to escape. The difference between the performances of the two caps was pretty striking.

how about just lifting your cap once in a while, 20 years of wearing heavy starched army caps can't recall that being a big problem in the US weather.

Ken
09-17-2006, 09:03 PM
Lift your cap? Thanks but I'll stick with the ventilator.

Rob
09-17-2006, 09:41 PM
Second that...

reb64
09-17-2006, 11:24 PM
Lift your cap? Thanks but I'll stick with the ventilator.


Great, will just have to come up with some new names for you yanks wearing those, saly shaker boys? sifter heads? hey I wonder if any cs troops found those and ripped them out for their use

Rob
09-18-2006, 12:17 AM
The name which comes immediately to mind is "Civil War winners".

:rolleyes:

Skip Arensmann
09-18-2006, 10:49 AM
Second that...

Third that..........
As previously stated, it's a ventilator. It allows the hot air to escape. I have noticed that my head stays cooler AND DRIER.....while the hair around the sweatband is, well, sweaty. I'm one of those who sweat from the head, but from the band up I've stayed quite dry, something that didn't/doesn't happen in a non-ventilated cap.
Ken (WesternBlueBelly) and I are going to try an experiment when the air turns crisp: work up a 'head of steam' (get good and hot) with the ventilator closed, open it, and see if we can see the steam coming out the vents. But that'll be when we're in garrison............;)
Just wanted to add my .02

Rob
09-18-2006, 11:51 AM
Yep.

You cannot very well take your cap off while standing at attention on some parade ground under a July sun, or while drilling, or while doing manual labor requiring both hands.

It's nothing more than good, old-fashioned Yankee ingenuity. ;)

reb64
09-19-2006, 06:56 PM
Yep.

You cannot very well take your cap off while standing at attention on some parade ground under a July sun, or while drilling, or while doing manual labor requiring both hands.

It's nothing more than good, old-fashioned Yankee ingenuity. ;)

call it ingenuity, i call it an attempt to get more out of the troops without breaks

Skip Arensmann
09-20-2006, 02:42 PM
call it ingenuity, i call it an attempt to get more out of the troops without breaks
Shhhhhhh, don't let anyone else in on the secret!

Skip Arensmann
09-20-2006, 02:58 PM
Sirs:
In seriousness, I want to say that this cap is very effective in maintaining a cooler/drier head. It's subjective on my part (and apparently other's as well) as I've not done temperature comparisons with/without the ventilator, but it does work. If it's the lower temperature, less trapped moisture, or both, that makes it work, I don't know. Put it on an excellent forage cap, it's a double winner.

Does anyone have any info on adaptations by Confederates on 'liberated' ventilators or caps with ventilators? (Or maybe we 'kept our cool' during the uneasiness and none were captured........)

YOS:

Ohioreb1861
12-27-2006, 08:44 PM
Hey folks,

I know this is a old post but, who carries the ventilator? I have seen them somewhere but forget who. Were the ventilators a union item only or was there a confederate version?

Skip Arensmann
12-28-2006, 09:08 AM
Hey folks,

I know this is a old post but, who carries the ventilator? I have seen them somewhere but forget who. Were the ventilators a union item only or was there a confederate version?
Jay:
I believe that EJ Thomas carries the cap, I'm not sure of other sutlers. I don't know if any confederate version existed, however.

YOS

Skip

JerseySkilletLicker
12-28-2006, 01:34 PM
It was a privately purchased item and as such could have been used by any soldier. There are slightly different versions in slouch hats that I have seen pics of.
They are available, installed in one of their caps, through NJ Sekela (the maker); EJ Thomas Mercantile and Tim Koehn all of which have posts in the sutler area.