Beginning in 1937 most chinstraps received a
stamped mark in order to identify the manufacturer who supplied the
product to the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht). Some chinstraps were
marked with the maker's name prior to 1937 although many were not.
Markings took the form of short, abbreviated
letters denoting the primary letters of the maker's firm combined with
the year the chinstrap was produced. Some manufacturers opted to
place the entire name of their firm on the chinstrap.
Prior to 1942 most chinstraps received a
manufacturer's mark that included a year. This would sometimes
include the complete or abbreviated name of the firm, or simply an
acronym designation the primary initials within the firm's name.
By 1942 this was changed completely to a serial system that gave each
firm a nine digit code that protected their location and identity.
The use of these codes became standard throughout Germany as a measure
of protection against Allied attacks. Name and year markings were
then replaced with a designated code. This marking was known as
the National Business Number (Reichsbetreibsnummer) or "RB Number."
The letters "RBN" or RBNr." were often
included in the mark placed on the chinstrap. All markings were
placed on the inside of the long end of the chinstrap. In 1944
many firms opted to omit the RB Number in order to expedite the
production process. As a result, some late war chinstraps can be
found that have no maker's mark whatsoever.
The various methods for marking the
chinstraps are illustrated by the original examples photographed below.
Interesting is the fact that at least one maker produced a chinstrap
with an ink marking (bottom left corner) rather than a permanent stamp
in the leather. Numerous examples exist of which the photographs
below primarily show the styles (or methods) by which markings were
1 Collectors should be aware that
more than 20 different reproduction maker marks have been added to
counterfeit chinstraps beginning with the earliest of examples.
While many of the markings are identical to originals, most are in fact
"fantasy" marks that are completely fabricated.