Original U.S. WWI M1917 Doughboy Helmet With Textured Paint and Weathervane Etching

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is an excellent example of a U.S. M1917 "Doughboy" helmet, which features original period textured OD Green paint and a painted Unit Insignia. The shell is maker marked with a stamping on the underside of the rim that reads ZC49. The solid rivets and heat lot number indicate that this helmet shell was produced in the United States by the Columbian Enameling and Stamping Company in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The paint is in good condition both inside and outside the helmet with most of the light textured surface remaining. The liner is present, and is in fair condition, with the oil cloth mostly gone. The netting is still intact, the original top tag is completely missing, the chin strap is fully intact with minor deterioration to the leather. There are no other markings visible on the helmet except for the unidentified weathervane symbol which was etched to the front. We haven’t been able to find the significance for the use of the symbol other than it was popular “folk art” at the time. The liner is stamped with the size 6 ⅞.
A great example of an authentic WWI "Doughboy" helmet ready for display!
Brief history of the Columbian Enameling and Stamping Company
About 6 years after the Civil War, the business now known as Columbian Home Products was organized. It was known as the Bellaire Stamping Co. in Bellaire, Ohio.
The Bellaire Stamping Co. fabricated metal stampings, such as mason jars, kerosene lanterns etc. Later it increased its business and glass products were introduced. While still in Ohio, the firm experimented with porcelain enameling. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed a large part of the facility and the company moved to Harvey, Ill., in 1890, where a factory was specifically built for production of porcelain enameled utensils. In 1893, the company’s name was changed to “Columbian Stamping and Enameling,” in conjunction with the commemoration of the Columbian Exposition, celebrating the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.
The company was doing very well until the New Year’s Eve of 1899 when, again, a fire totally destroyed the building. In spite of two large setbacks, in 1902, the company decided to rebuild and found a new location in the city of Terre Haute, Indiana at 1600 Beech St.
The new manufacturing facility was steam-operated, utilizing the most modern technology. The company operated as a miniature city with its own deep well water supply and sewage treatment facility. The only problem was the source of light, which was only sunlight. So working hours were limited. In 1913, four Buckey generators were installed in the powerhouse and they supplied enough electricity to run the factory, warehouse, and offices 24 hours a day. Every morning, the boiler operators released steam to sound the 6 a.m. whistle, which was the alarm clock of the neighborhood, which only stopped in 1996.
For the first 50 years, the enameled glass on steel products were fired in box furnaces and men and women working there were called fire tenders and earned the best pay. The second tier of people were fire attendants who pushed racks full of steel coated pots and pans and other accessories into furnaces with a temperature of 1,500 degrees. Because of the intense heat, they had to keep a constant watch on how the products were being cured.
All of the enameled products were hand-dipped into an enamel bath. It took considerable skill to wipe a second coat of enamel, especially for two-colored or patterned products. Because some of the patterns needed use of fingers dipped in colors, the company was sometimes referred to as a “stamping mill.”
World War I brought changes to the factory. There was great demand for helmets and other items relating to the war. The company met the challenge and produced steel helmets and other items for the soldiers.

History of the M1917 Helmet
The M1917 was the US Army's first modern combat helmet, used from 1917 and during the 1920s, before being replaced by the M1917A1. The M1917A1 helmet was an updated version of the M1917 and initially used refurbished WW1 shells.
The M1917 is a near identical version of the British Mk.I steel helmet, and it is important to note that when the US joined the Great War in 1917 they were initially issued with a supply of around 400,000 British made Mk.Is, before production began stateside. The M1917 differed slightly in its lining detail, and exhibited US manufacture markings.
M1917 helmet liners typically show a paper label at the crown and the dome rivet head. The liner is set up as on the British versions, with an oilcloth band and net configuration, attached to a leather strap, riveted to the shell. The chinstrap is leather with a steel buckle.
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