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1954 MS-22001 complete set / new in container


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Greetings everyone !

Having put together a nicely preserved H-4 set with matching liner a few months ago, I was still missing the iconic MS-22001 / A-13A mask setup to complete it.


I had found in the recent past a couple of interesting late-50's early 60's -22001 masks with the metallic Y-yoke, but I was looking for the more specific early -22001 / A-13A variant (with molded rubber nose "hoops" and integrated lower retentions for strap management, along with the A-13A hardshell retention), a mask setup more evocative of the Korean war US Navy H-3 and post-war H-4 helmets to me.




Good things coming to those who wait, I've finally been able to find the "Grail" : a New Old Stock dated Nov. 1954 MS-22001 full set !

Stored away for over 65 years, it came from the USA in its sealed original container (packed Jan. 1955) with the integral setup : A-13A type nose hardshell, straps & snaps, 0² rubber hose, strap-end metal pieces, MC-3 connector, the whole deal in brand new condition !


Needless to say I'm particularly glad I could find -and get- such an excellent condition bundle, especially for as low as 230$.

Considering that the usual vintage rubber MS-22001 are quite often cracked or crumbling and sell between 250-400$ without any accessory (or container of course !), I consider myself extremely lucky.


The package


The container is closed by a bolt / screw assembly that secures the cover plate with a crimping ring.

It was designed to be airtight, hence the presence of a rubber ring seal on the inner side.


Close-up on the cover plate and bottom embossed markings.


The painted markings are very complete and informative.

They indicate it was manufactured in November 1954 (so does the time stamp on the face piece) by the Acushnet Process Co. out of New Bedford, Massachussets, and packed in container 2 months later.




Size is Large.
The rubber is flawless, still supple and pliable of course, and even still has this particular strong smell !


Note that the microphone and its comm cord were not issued with this set (the comm cord's exit port being closed by a conic rubber "plug").

Detail of the markings on the face piece, basically the same that are painted on the container.
Note that the time stamp differs from the usual "pie chart" we've been accustomed to since the early 60's : this one shows only one year (54), and 11 dots (November)




The package also included :

  • 2 two-snap hooks (that fasten to the liner's right-side studs and connect to the right-side hook strap assembly)
  • 3 strap-end "clincher tips",
  • a dehydrant gel packet,
  • a humidity indicator,
  • spare screws.


The left-side strap sports an integrated V-shaped dual-snap assembly (which fastens to the liner's left-side studs).



Close-up on the P/N 191A2 connector to the plane, which is a precursor to the famous MC-3 (then MC-3A).



The scarce matching vintage microphones being overpriced (in the 50-100$ range), I decided not to buy one, that was just not worth the price for something invisible on display.

Still, I made up my mind to find a relevant comm cord for that era that would fit this mask, ending wether by a PL-291 or PJ-292 two-pin plug (see photo below) according to the examples found on Salimbeti.



Completed H-4


The pictures will speak for themselves (I also updated my H-4 thread with these).

All I had to do was install the comm cord to the mask (after removing the exit port's plug), tighten the straps so that they maintained the face piece properly, and put the clincher tips in place for an aesthetic strap management.





The comm cord I found in France is a New Old Stock PL-231 cord with PL-291 plug, dated 1956.



For your information, this beautiful MS-22001 is rather an USAF mask than an USN issued. USN didn't rename their A-13A mask to MS-22001 until the 60s.

The USN A-13A for H-3 and H-4 helmet is not exactly the same design of your. However, it's a super find !

[...] Not any hook on the left side. Only snaps.


Although Bebel informed me on the H-4 thread that this mask was more likely USAF than USN, I guess this was the closest match and best-looking setup I could possibly find for my H-4. Besides, taking into account that a lot of examples on the web show H-3 / H-4 and other USN sets of the 50's with such configuration (-22001 with snaps / hook assembly), I still consider it as a "reasonable doubt", so I'll go with it and leave it this way 😁.




Seeing this helmet complete at last with such a great mask sure is a pleasure for the eye, I don't regret having waited for it to show up.


Hope you enjoyed the share 😉
As always, any comment or opinion will be gladly appreciated !

- Vark_07 / Gauthier

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