Original German WWII Pilot Flight Protection Helmet SSK 90 by Siemens

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is an excellent example of the SSK 90. Officially adopted by the Luftwaffe on 8 May 1941, the SSK 901 helmet was manufactured exclusively by the Siemens Company. The helmet was made out of interlocking and hinged steel plates that were designed to protect the head from shrapnel. The entire assembly was then covered with thick padding and dark brown leather identical to that found on standard air crew helmets. Each side of the helmet had an "ear cut-out" that was designed to accommodate the earphones found on the cloth and leather flight helmets. The chinstrap assembly utilized components identical to that found on German paratrooper helmets including the buckle, leather, and snaps. A large protruding pad (or comb) running from the front visor to the crown was designed to protect the head from direct frontal impact during crash landings or aerial combat. A variation in the SSK 90 configuration also existed in a helmet designated the LKH W. This helmet was identical in manufacture save for the fact that it had a long sloping neck protector and no chinstrap. The LKH W was often found with an embroidered Luftwaffe eagle sewn to the front.

Due to the weight of the steel plates inside the SSK 90 helmet it was eventually withdrawn from service on 26 May 1941. Having been used for only a short period of time, the helmet became essentially obsolete although some continued to see service after 1941.

This wonderful example is in excellent condition complete with inner lining, full function chin strap, and makers label that reads:

SSK 90
57 59

Easily fits up to a 60cm head (US 7/12), the leather, comb and steel plates are all in excellent condition, this is the best example of an SSK we have ever seen.

Having been used for a short time, the SSK 90 is a scarce pre-jet age flight helmet. It should be noted that for many years, collectors incorrectly assumed that the SSK 90 helmet was specifically made for pilots flying the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter and therefore incorrectly labeled the SSK 90 as a "jet fighter helmet".

SSK 90 helmet
The SSK 90 helmet was a short-lived World War II Luftwaffe helmet. Manufactured by Siemens, the helmet consisted of an inner core of interlocking steel plates, a goatskin exterior, and an underside with foam rubber padding and a cloth lining; a prominent protrusion at the front helped to put on and take off the helmet quickly, and served as extra padding in case of a crash. The helmet had cutouts for earphones, and was designed to be worn over a cloth flight helmet outfitted with radio gear.

The helmet was introduced on 8 May 1941, but quickly found unsuitable for service at the front; it was withdrawn from service only 18 days later, on 26 May. Some examples continued to be used, although pilots more frequently relied on modified versions of the M35 helmet.

The SSK 90 helmet comprised an inner steel core covered by padding and leather. On the inside, interlocking chromium-nickel steel plates, 1 millimeter thick and slightly convex, overlapped at the point of attachment; the plates were intended to protect against shrapnel and small-caliber machine-gun fire. The exterior featured dark brown goatskin leather, and a large protruding section of padding intended to help quickly don and doff the helmet, and to provide extra cushioning in the event of impact. The underside was padded with foam rubber, and lined with a brown cotton mixture. Each side of the helmet, which was designed to be worn over a cloth flight helmet outfitted with radio gear, had a cut-out for earphones. A snap-on chinstrap used the same components – including buckles, leather, and snaps – found on German paratrooper helmets, although only about half of the helmets were issued with chinstraps. The helmet weighed about 1,900 g (4.2 lb).

The SSK 90 was extremely similar to another model, the LKH W, which differed only in its sloping neck guard, lack of chinstrap, and, frequently, an embroidered Luftwaffe eagle.

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