Original WWII U.S. Navy S-III Painted Front Seam Swivel Bale Schlueter M1 Helmet Complete with Firestone Liner
Original Item: One-of-a-Kind. This is a unique example of a WWII M1 Helmet with markings to a U.S. Navy Seaman 3rd Class, or was used as a specific rating, which could be a number of different ratings seen on a ship. The M1 helmets were usually stored in racks in the different departments and not necessarily assigned to a specific sailor, so it’s a possibility that this one was stored in an “S” rating department such as Sonar. This example is in very good condition considering signs of honest wear from use, and decades of storage wear, and does appear to have been together since the war due to the blue paint rubbings present on the shell!
The Helmet features a shell painted in standard WWII U.S. Navy Blue, which appears to be covering a layer of “battleship” gray paint underneath.
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. 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 early M-1 helmet shells had a set of fixed chinstrap loops called "bales" and a stainless steel rim. 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 late 1943, a set of bales which swiveled were introduced, which reduced the risk of breakage like the earlier fixed bales. This particular helmet is of the swivel bale variety, with OD#7 chinstraps fitted with a painted steel buckle. As typical with WWII Navy helmets, the shell has been painted several times, but the original cork finish is still evident on the exterior.
The steel shell is stamped 305A over a large S, indicating Schlueter manufactured this helmet in early 1944.
The liner is correct “high pressure” WWII issue and stamped with an F logo over 10 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 can be identified through the frontal eyelet hole. Other correct WW2 features include cotton herringbone twill (HBT) cloth suspension liner. This HBT suspension is held tightly within the M-1 helmet liner by rivets and a series of triangular "A" washers, though there are some areas of tearing a detach. The three upper suspension bands are joined together with the correct OD green string. This way the wearer could adjust the fit. The liner is also painted a light Navy Blue and retained very well.
This fantastic condition M1 shell has correct late war swivel (movable) chinstrap loops called "bales" and a stainless steel rim with a rear 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 an excellent service worn example and still retains all of its original WW2 parts and the shell has all original "corked" grain paint.
Comes more than ready for display.
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