Original U.S. WWII Schlueter Swivel Bale Front Seam Navy Damage Control M1 Helmet with Firestone Liner

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a Mid-War M1 Helmet produced by Schlueter, complete with its original liner. It is in very nice shape, and has been painted red with a yellow stripe on the outside of both the shell and liner, indicating issue for U.S. Navy "Damage Control" units. It is marked with a black number 1 on the front at back, which was often the "repair station" onboard the ship that it was issued to. Larger ships would have several locations where the repair equipment was kept.

Damage control units were the front line against damage sustained while in combat, with brightly colored helmets so they could be easily seen in the smoke resulting from damage. Before repairs could be made, fires had to be put out to mitigate damage to the ship. They often operated during combat, and therefor needed combat helmets, as they could not shelter below decks. U.S. Navy damage control unit items are very sought after.

In World War II the production of the M1 helmet began in June 1941 and ceased in September 1945. The total production of M-1 helmet shells during the war reached 22,000,000. Of these about 20,000,000 were produced by the main contractor McCord Radiator and Manufacturing Company of Detroit. Although McCord was supposed to be the single source of M-1 helmet shells, by the summer of 1942 a second company was enlisted to help the production effort. This was Schlueter Manufacturing of St. Louis, Missouri.

Schlueter began production of its M-1 helmet shells in January 1943. Schlueter produced only 2,000,000 M-1 helmet shells during the war (both fixed and swivel). They placed an "S" stamp on their helmet shells above their "heat temperature stamp".

Aside from the markings, there are some subtle differences between a McCord and Schlueter M-1 helmet shell. This can be found on the rims. A Schlueter helmet shell has a much straighter profile than the classic McCord brim. Also the weld marks for the fixed bales and rim are small and round on a Schlueter, while they are oval and wide for a McCord. This nice mid war production helmet is a fine example and still retains all of its original WWII parts with some light wear from service. It does look like the shell exterior was repainted at some point during the war.

The steel shell is stamped 278A along with a large S, indicating Schlueter manufacture and dating from late 1943 to mid 1944, when the manganese rim was introduced. M-1 helmet shell originally had a stainless steel rim with seam in the front. Stainless steel 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 1944, due to issues with paint flaking off the bright stainless steel, the rim was changed to use non-magnetic manganese steel, which retained the paint and was not shiny. Shortly after this in November 1944 the switch was made to rear seams. This helmet features the correct front seam stainless steel rim and mid war production swivel bales.

The shell strap is the correct OD Green #3 from a mid war helmet, with a stamped steel buckle. It shows light wear, but is really in great shape.

The liner is painted to match the shell and is the correct “high pressure” WWII issue and stamped with an F logo over 47 for the FIRESTONE TIRE & RUBBER COMPANY Manufactured in Akron, Ohio this “high pressure” manufactured M-1 helmet liner is identified by an embossed “F” in the crown. Firestone Tire and Rubber Company started M-1 helmet liner delivery to the US Army in September 1942. They produced approximately 7,500,000 M-1 helmet liners and 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 OD Green #3 cotton herringbone twill (HBT) cloth suspension liner, with the webbing in good shape. This HBT 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 OD green string. This way the wearer could adjust the fit. The sweatband and liner chin strap are unfortunately completely missing.

U.S. Navy Damage Control unit helmets are very rare and desirable, and this is the first example that we have had! It also has a shell by Schlueter, which have become extremely difficult to find in recent years, especially genuine front seam examples. Almost certainly to appreciate in value year after year!

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