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Hello all, new to this forum but I've been dabbling around the community for a while and on/off helmet collecting for years. I recently picked up one of my all time favorites: an M1917 with an EGA pin. I'm not sure I completely subscribe to any one school of thought regarding the placement of said EGA during the war or after, but that isn't what I'm here for anyway. I was hoping to find out more about the heat stamp. It is marked "WA" with no number. As far as I have been able to find, company "A" is a fairly common maker mark for these helmets, but I have yet to see a "W" steel company appear in pictures or on a list. In fact, the only reference I have seen of it was a passing comment on this forum from the user aef1917. From what I gather here, and on some other forums, aef1917 seems to have an extensive knowledge on this topic, or at least great experience. Given such, I hope that aef, or anyone really, might help clarify if the marking "WA" is legit and maybe expound on that, if such information is available. Thanks in advance!

 

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  • 2 months later...

So, I've been trying to figure out the lot stampings as well. I have come across some stampings that do not fit into the standard "ZC123" codes like your "WA" stamping. One helmet in my collection is marked "NC CO" with the "C" surrounding the "CO". The liner on that helmet is dated "1917" which leaves me to believe that the helmets that do not conform to the standard markings are earlier productions. As for the first letters of lot numbers, I agree that they have to do with the metal, but I also think that they could do with the metal composition. Going back to the "WA," I must have seen the "W" once before because it is on my excel sheet of known markings. If you have a chance, could you see if the liner is marked? Could you also snap a picture of the rivets? The "A" marker has very rounded rivets so it should be the same on your helmet.

 

Hopefully this helps,
Eric

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1 hour ago, aef1917 said:

Would it blow your mind if I told you the WA helmet and the NCCo helmet were made  by the same company?

Consider mind blown. This sounds interesting.

Mikie

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1 hour ago, aef1917 said:

Would it blow your mind if I told you the WA helmet and the NCCo helmet were made  by the same company?

Tell me more!! I've been smashing my head against a wall trying to figure this out for a while.

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8 hours ago, ehutch88 said:

So, I've been trying to figure out the lot stampings as well. I have come across some stampings that do not fit into the standard "ZC123" codes like your "WA" stamping. One helmet in my collection is marked "NC CO" with the "C" surrounding the "CO". The liner on that helmet is dated "1917" which leaves me to believe that the helmets that do not conform to the standard markings are earlier productions. As for the first letters of lot numbers, I agree that they have to do with the metal, but I also think that they could do with the metal composition. Going back to the "WA," I must have seen the "W" once before because it is on my excel sheet of known markings. If you have a chance, could you see if the liner is marked? Could you also snap a picture of the rivets? The "A" marker has very rounded rivets so it should be the same on your helmet.

 

Hopefully this helps,
Eric

1stArmy_Engineer_1e.jpg

Hi Eric,

Wow I have never even heard of an NC Co marking before, that must be really proprietary. And aef’s revelation makes it all the more interesting, but of course raises more questions haha. 

I checked the liner carefully and extensively when I first received the helmet and to my eye there isn’t any form of a stamp left, not even a shadow. It’s not in terrible shape but “used” enough to reasonably assume it has leeched out over time. I will furnish some pics of the rivets later when I get home. 

Thanks for the input. If you are looking for some other interesting reading on this, it had a good thread develop over on warrelics, if you’re part of that forum as well. I can drop the link in later.

-Jay

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Eric,

Here are the pics of the rivets - each side's chinstrap bail and the last pic is the top dome rivet. Do these conform to the roundness you mentioned? I'd like to hear more about your theory on the first letter denoting metal composition rather than a foundry code.

 

--break--

 

aef,

IIRC Bashford Dean mentions the Crosby Company being involved in early work on these helmets, presumably "C co" is them? Inevitably they were assigned "A"? With N being the foundry they sourced from or maybe identifying the earlier vanadium compositions?

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19 hours ago, DumpsterBaby said:

IIRC Bashford Dean mentions the Crosby Company being involved in early work on these helmets, presumably "C co" is them? Inevitably they were assigned "A"? With N being the foundry they sourced from or maybe identifying the earlier vanadium compositions?

 

 

Mostly correct.  All of the documentation I have found points to the CCo helmets being among the first m1917 helmets manufactured.  I have several of these helmets and N is not the only leading letter.  Others I can remember off the top of my head are K and O, which suggests to me that they are lot codes.  The company asked to continue using their logo when regular production began, but the Ordnance Department required them to adhere to the same marking scheme as the other companies, and they were assigned the letter A.

 

Since the W steel consisted of a single lot of helmet blanks, there was no need for a numeric lot code.

 

As a side note, it's not surprising that there are no marks inside the liner.  Prior to December 1917, Ordnance Department regulations for liners prohibited makers' marks as they were considered advertising.  Any liner made prior to then would only bear the occasional Ordnance inspection stamp.

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AEF1917, Great investigative work. So, from my notes, A -  is now confirmed Crosby, B - Worchester, C - Edward Budd, and J - Columbian. As for the rest of the letters, they are just my guesses so I won't include them here.

 

As for my prior statement, the first letter code being assigned to the metal compositions is more of a conjecture than anything. Could be right or wrong, but it is a possibility that I wanted to through out there.

 

Eric

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13 hours ago, aef1917 said:

I have several of these helmets and N is not the only leading letter.  Others I can remember off the top of my head are K and O, which suggests to me that they are lot codes.

 

Ahh I see, lot codes makes sense for the early examples, especially before any major consolidation and contracting for full-swing manufacture.  Great information overall, thank you! Another question on early models: Does Simmonds Saw fit in anywhere for early manufacture? I think I have seen them mentioned at least once outside of Dean's reference, but that seems to be the only mention of them. They aren't ever mentioned on the running lists of final manufactures; I just find it strange that if they had a hand in early development, they wouldn't continue on to manufacture. Or maybe they simply never got a contract?

 

10 hours ago, ehutch88 said:

A -  is now confirmed Crosby, B - Worchester, C - Edward Budd, and J - Columbian.

 

Eric, my notes are looking about the same, except for Worchester, can I ask about that one? Also, I tentatively have "H" as American Car and Foundry, but I will admit this is based on loose connections from bits of information. Nothing concrete, but something to consider.

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1 hour ago, DumpsterBaby said:

 

Ahh I see, lot codes makes sense for the early examples, especially before any major consolidation and contracting for full-swing manufacture.  Great information overall, thank you! Another question on early models: Does Simmonds Saw fit in anywhere for early manufacture? I think I have seen them mentioned at least once outside of Dean's reference, but that seems to be the only mention of them. They aren't ever mentioned on the running lists of final manufactures; I just find it strange that if they had a hand in early development, they wouldn't continue on to manufacture. Or maybe they simply never got a contract?

 

 

Eric, my notes are looking about the same, except for Worchester, can I ask about that one? Also, I tentatively have "H" as American Car and Foundry, but I will admit this is based on loose connections from bits of information. Nothing concrete, but something to consider.

 

Simonds Saw did a considerable amount of experimental work in 1916 and early 1917, and was the first American company to press a copy of the British Mk. I helmet.  Based on this work, the Army offered company president Alvan T. Simonds a  commission as a captain in the Ordnance Department overseeing the development of the US helmet program.  Simonds accepted, but refused to divest his interest in his company, and conflict-of-interest regulations prevented Simonds from getting a helmet contract.  Following a legal dispute, Capt. Simonds resigned his commission and was replaced by Bashford Dean.

 

Based on documents and helmets I have, the list of manufacturers in Dean, Crowell, et al. is missing at least 6 companies, and I have been unable to confirm that Benjamin Electric actually made any.  Knowing that Worcester Pressed Steel made the Wilmer eye shields was my initial clue that they were B, which I was subsequently able to confirm.

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2 hours ago, aef1917 said:

conflict-of-interest regulations prevented Simonds from getting a helmet contract

 

I should have figured it became a conflict of interest scenario. Is the implication then that the company proceeded to press helmets once he resigned his commission? If so, that would put Simmonds on the list, but I haven't come across any other evidence that they did or won a contract, so I will keep Simmonds on the potential list in a loose regard. That is an interesting back story nonetheless. 

 

In addition to names given between Dean and Crowell, I've also come across Hale and Kilburn, W.H. Mullins, and Sturges and Burn, although some of those appear to be later contracts. It appears I'm still missing a few then....

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From what I have been able to gather, Simonds never got a helmet contract.  Their war effort seems to have focused on tools and armor plate for the most part.

 

Likewise, I have seen references to Hale & Kilburn making m1917s, but I haven't seen any evidence to confirm that.  They were heavily involved with experimental helmets and body armor for much of the war.

 

Mullins got a contract less than a month before the Armistice and only pressed about 100 helmets.  Sturges & Burn also got a contract around the same time but it's unclear whether they actually made any before all of the helmet contracts were canceled.

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