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First off, I STRONGLY recommend getting Mark A. Reynosa's book "(PASGT) Helmet". It is a great source for information about these helmets up to 1997. It is badly in need of an update or a 2nd volume, as there are many items missing from the book that were developed shortly after it was published (ACU and MARPAT covers, the Countermine cover, upgrade kits, later helmet contracts from circa 2001, the lightweight PASGT, the development into the USMC LWH, etc.).

 

For the most common makers, here's a brief description of what each maker molded into their helmets:

 

Unicor: Cluster of blocks that forms an abstract "elephant"

Devil's Lake Sioux: Circle with lightning bolt and horse inside

Specialty Plastic Products: SPP

Gentex Corp.: GENTEX

Gibraltar Industries: sometimes have a GENTEX mark (Gentex helped complete a Gibraltar Ind. contract)

Stemaco: STEMACO

 

There are a few other uncommon makers, such as Aqua-Aire and Northwest Polymeric. The tooling from Aqua-Aire was actually purchased and later used by Stemaco. I haven't personally seen an Aqua-Aire or NW Polymeric helmet, but I've read the Aqua-Aire mold-in mark looks like two As (the picture of this in the Reynosa book sucks). I also can't recall if Gibraltar Industries had their own mold-in mark besides the "GENTEX" one. However, one simple way to identify a Gibraltar helmet is by the flattened screw heads. This feature was unique to Gibraltar. Obviously the screws could be switched out, but this is fairly uncommon on PASGT helmets.

 

When I get a larger selection of these manufacturer's helmets, I'll try and get some pics up. The Aqua-Aire and NW Polymeric helmets are REALLY hard to find. In fact, it's not terribly certain how many NW Polymeric helmets were actually made.

 

Much of the above information comes from Mark A. Reynosa's book "(PASGT) Helmet".

 

The following is also based on fact, mixed in with some of my own conjecture based on observation and experience in manufacturing:

 

You'll also see other symbols, like a big "+" molded in, which I believe was an alignment mark for the mold. There will often be a year of production molded into the crown of the helmet as well, consisting of the last 2 numbers of the year. While this is often believed to be the year of production for the MOLD, some manufacturers have multiple years molded into the helmet right next to each other (such as 84 and 85). For this reason, it could also be the actual year of manufacture for the helmet, much in the same way modern plastics manufacturers date their products by stamping a section of the mold every month/year, effectively dating each piece made from that particular mold. The sizes are molded into the helmets as well, with the letter of the size (XS, S, M, L, and later XL) followed by a number. The number has no bearing on the size... more than likely it's simply the mold number for that particular size of helmet, to help track flaws if they become apparent.


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Just check out Amazon.com for the book. It's only $15, and if you buy something else to make the total more than $25, you'll get free shipping.

 

There is also a good section about the PASGT in the "Steel Pots" book by Chris Arnold, though this book ignores the two early contractors of Aqua-Aire and NW Polymeric, and the total number of PASGT helmets produced is different in each book (Reynosa states about 3,000,000 were made as of 1997, whereas Arnold stated 6,000,000 had been made). Both books have the same copyright date, so I'm not sure why there is such a huge difference between the production totals stated in each book. I'd err on the side of Reynosa, as he seems to have studied the actual contracts in greater detail.


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Thats a great book, i highly recomend it too, do you think mark reynosa is a member here or does he still collect helmets?....mike :think:


Always looking for and buying 50's era 11th Airborne/ 187th ARCT/ 82nd Airborne tac mark painted jump helmets!



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