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Original U.S. WWI US Army Panel Camouflage Painted British Made M1917 Doughboy Helmet - Complete

Regular price $395.00

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. When America was drawn into the European conflict it possessed no steel helmets of its own. They looked to other nations for ideas and selected the British helmet as the most suitable. Britain supplied about half a million helmets to the Americans before production of an American version was started in the U.S. This is a fantastic, genuine Great War hand painted 1st Infantry Division British made helmet, complete with its original liner and chinstrap.

The heat stamp on the underside of the rim is F/S 167, a nice and low lot number for a helmet manufactured by Thomas Firth & Sons Ltd. of Sheffield. In the late 1830s Thomas Firth was head melter at Sheffield crucible steelmakers Sanderson Brothers. He had fathered ten children, seven boys and three girls.

Two of the sons, Mark and Thomas junior followed in father's footsteps and started work at Sanderson Brothers but in 1842 left to set up their own business in Charlotte Street, Sheffield, their father joining them shortly afterwards. In ten years their business had grown and it was necessary to find larger premises. With land available they moved to a large site in Savile Street, Sheffield, adjacent to the works set up by John Brown. It was named Norfolk Works and had crucible furnaces, a file making shop and what was, at the time, the largest rolling mill in Sheffield.

In the 1850s and '60s Thomas Firth supplied Samuel Colt with most of the iron and steel used at his firearms factories both at Hartford Connecticut and the short-lived facility in Pimlico, London. Business grew and moved into the armaments market directly, the company installing two Nasmyth Steam forge hammers in 1863 which were used to forge heavy artillery pieces. In 1871, Firth's cast the thirty-five ton Woolwich Infant gun and 5 years later they produced an eighty-ton gun.

Mark, whilst at his Norfolk Works, suffered a stroke on 16 November 1880 and died at his Sheffield home 12 days later; he was buried in the General Cemetery. The company, however, continued. The company produced helmets for the war effort from 1916 to 1918.

The heat stamp and the split rivets on the chinstrap bales are a solid indication and a good reference point for identifying British made helmets for American use during the Great War.

The best feature on this helmet is the vibrant panel camouflage consisting of blues, tan, yellow and various shades of green. This type of camouflage was seen on all fronts and used by nearly all military forces fighting. The front of the helmet has a fantastic pink marking the initials US with the last part faded away. Most likely the last letter was an “A”, however, Marine Corps helmets are also known to have been marked with “USM”.

The helmet is in lovely condition with a solid liner, oilcloth, under netting and felt top pad which is missing the top cover exposing the rubber “donut”. The leather chinstrap is present on both the top and bottom portions of the helmet. The size stamp is still legible on the upper portion and appears to be an even “7”.

This is actually a fantastic British made example, used by a member of the American Expeditionary Forces. Comes more than ready for display.

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 state side. 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 steel buckle.

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