''World War One M1917 helmet''

The helmet featured here is a nice original WWI M1917 helmet in good condition. This is a complete helmet with hand painted 83rd Infantry Divison insignia, sawdust finish and swivel bales.

The serial number is stamped in the back of the helmet "ZB51". The seam where the rim was spot welded onto the helmet can also be seen.

The lining in the M1917 is made of twine mesh and attached to a leather band that contained small pieces of rubber. The mesh and leather band is covered with a piece of black oilcloth visible here. The lining is not in a perfect condition and shows normal wear for a 100 year old helmet. The chin strap buckle is not complete, both sides missing a part of the length. At the center of the helmet is a rivet that holds down a piece of felt, the chinstrap, and the instructional tag (picture below right shows a part of the instructional tag). The instructional tag giving directions on how to tighten the helmet net for a better fit.

The painted 83rd Infantry Division emblem has faded to a black triangle but a very faint yellow line can be seen.

M1917 Helmet - The American Army entered Europe with no helmet or design they could call their own. Many American soldiers were isued the British Model 1915 Mark I helmet or the "Brodie" helmet. Some 400.000 British Mark I helmets were issued to American troops already in Europe. The American M1917 helmet was a direct copy of the Britisch Mark I. These helmets were made under contract by American firms in the fall of 1917. By the fall of 1918 some two million helmets were made in US factories. The M1917 helmet had its own characteristics, making it unique from the British model. The M1917 helmet was painted olive drab, sawdust was then applied, and the helmet was once again painted with olive drab. The sawdust was to cut down on helmet glare.