Original U.S. WWII Named 1942 McCord Fixed Bale M1 Helmet with Rayon Westinghouse Liner & Net

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a genuine WWII Front-Seam Fixed Bale M1 Helmet made by McCord Radiator, purchased directly from a WWII Soldier. It is fitted with a very early Westinghouse High Pressure liner, which has rayon suspension instead of the far more common HBT Cotton suspension. It also has a lovely helmet net, with attached burlap to increase the camouflage ability.

Included with the helmet is excellent provenance connecting the helmet to a WWII Officer who fought in the China Burma India Theater, Captain (later Lt. Col.) Melvin R. Blair. He had enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1934, and served in the 13th Horse Cavalry, until assigned to a Cavalry ROTC unit at Norwich University in Vermont. He graduated in 1942 and was Commissioned as an Officer. He volunteered for Merrill's Marauders, and upon arrival in Burma was assigned as a recon. platoon leader under the 209th Combat Engineers. For his actions he was battlefield promoted to Captain, and finished WWII in China. After WWII, he attended further command officer training, and was stationed in Tokyo for a time. He then saw action during the Korean war, where he was injured, and retired from service in 1954 following the war. For extraordinary heroism in two wars, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, with Oak Leaf Cluster; the Silver Star; the Bronze Star, with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters; the Purple Heart, with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge with Star. This information courtesy of the Merrill's Marauder's Website, where Blair is listed in the Ranger hall of fame.

A printout of this information is included, along with printed copies of his obituary, and a picture of his grave marker at Arlington National Cemetery. There is also a picture of this helmet, with a handwritten note from the collector who acquired it, stating that it was acquired directly from Melvin Blair's Son Dennis Blair in Abilene, Kansas. Definitely some excellent provenance.

The U.S. WWII M-1 helmet was only produced from 1941 to 1945. The first production batch resulted with over 323,510 M-1 helmets before the start of the American involvement in the war. This helmet is heat lot stamped 188A which indicates the approximate manufacture date of May-June 1942.

The Ordnance Department selected McCord Radiator and Manufacturing Company of Detroit Michigan to produce the steel M1 helmet bodies. These bodies were made from a single piece of Hadfield Manganese steel that was produced by the Carnegie-Illinois & Sharon Steel Corporations. Each completed raw M-1 helmet shell weighed 2.25 lbs each.

This fantastic condition M1 shell has correct mid war fixed chinstrap loops, called "bales," and a stainless steel rim with a front seam. These rims were both rust resistant and had "non-magnetic qualities" that reduced the chance of error readings when placed around certain sensitive equipment (such as a compass). In November 1944 the specification was changed to have the rim seam in the rear of the helmet.

This helmet is a fine example and still retains most of its original WW2 parts and the shell has all original "corked" grain paint, with only light wear. There is also the usual wear on the stainless steel rim. The shell has the correct front seam with large oval welds, confirming it is a McCord shell. It has the correct early war OD green #3 Chin strap with a cast brass buckle, which is secured behind the helmet. The shell is equipped with a very nice faded helmet net, with burlap installed to increase the camouflage profile.

The liner is correct "high pressure" WWII issue and stamped with a W for the Westinghouse Electric Co Manufactured in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this "high pressure" manufactured M-1 helmet liner is identified by an embossed "W" in the crown (which is still Westinghouse's logo to this day). Westinghouse was the largest M-1 helmet liner producer and had two production divisions; Micarta and Bryant Electric. The Micarta Division produced about 13,000,000 M-1 helmet liners and the Bryant Electric Division about 10,000,000. Westinghouse Electric Company started M-1 helmet liner delivery in May 1942. Westinghouse did have a contract to producce airborne liners and converted an unknown amount to airborne configuration. Westinghouse discontinued production around August 17, 1945 when the war ended.

This true US WWII M-1 helmet liner be identified through the frontal eyelet hole. Other correct WWII features include early issue Rayon cloth suspension liner, with the webbing in very good shape. This suspension is held tightly within the M-1 helmet liner by rivets and a series of triangular "A" washers. The three upper suspension bands are joined together with the correct string. This way the wearer could adjust the fit. The sweatband is present, but definitely shows wear. Some of the snaps have pulled away from the sweatband, but overall it is quite nice. The original leather liner chin strap is also included, and in good but worn condition.

An excellent genuine very early WWII issue helmet, with some great provenance perfect for any collection! Ready to display!

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