Original WWII U.S. Navy “Battleship Grey” Painted M1 Front Seam Swivel Bale Helmet with Westinghouse Liner
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is an excellent example of a WWII U.S. Navy Painted M1 Helmet. It is a circa 1944 M1 McCord Front Seam Swivel Bale Helmet, painted in battleship grey-blue with a WWII Issue Westinghouse "High Pressure" Liner. 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 861 I, indicating approximate manufacture during April 1944.
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. The total production of M-1 helmet shells during the war reached 22,000,000. Of these about 20,000,000 were produced by McCord, the primary contractor.
This M1 shell has correct mid-late war swivel 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 October 1943, issues with the fixed bales breaking off resulted in a change to the "swivel bales". Then in October 1944, the rims were changed to non magnetic manganese steel, due to issues with the paint wearing off the rim. Shortly after this 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 all of its original WWII parts. The original "corked grain" can still be seen on the exterior, even with the "Battleship Grey" repaint, which is well retained. It has the correct swivel bails and a front seam stainless steel rim, which is missing paint, as is typical. The chin strap is the correct mid war OD Green #3, with a mid war pattern stamped steel buckle. The chinstrap does show wear, and just a bit of the gray paint got on one side by the bale.
The liner is correct "high pressure" WWII issue and embossed with a W logo over mold number D 33, for manufacture by the the Westinghouse Electric Co of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These "high pressure" manufactured M-1 helmet liner are 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, and discontinued production around August 17, 1945 when the war ended.
This true US WWII M-1 helmet liner can be identified through the frontal eyelet hole. Other correct WW2 features include cotton herringbone twill (HBT) cloth suspension dated 1943. 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 original string. This way the wearer could adjust the fit. The liner still has the original sweatband, which is worn and discolored from service. The rest of the rigging shows light wear as well, with some color fading, and the original liner chinstrap is missing.
True WWII Navy Helmets are getting harder to find. This is an excellent opportunity to obtain one that is ready for display!
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