Pressing the Issue

Over the years little has been published on the American pressed fiber sun helmets, and we’ve tried to fill in the gaps. Recently an item came up for auction that should help fill in some of the blanks.

This was what appears to be a mold/press for the Hawley designed helmet. The metal is too heavy to be aluminum, but isn’t magnetic so it is likely some form of pot metal. It is heavy/strong enough for stamping of the lightweight helmets.

The overhead view of the mold shows that it features the faux seams and ventilator cap that is seen on the various pressed fiber helmets. As we’ve noted previously this helmet was likely based on the British Standard Pattern, which had been used the USMC during its occupation of Haiti in the 1920s/30s.

The interior of the form shows that it was likely used with a larger press of some sort to “stamp” out the helmets.

It would likely be one part of the process as this form has the rough outline of the faux puggaree but not all of the “fold” lines. The research will have to continue on this one, but all in all this is the first such mold/stamp press item that we’ve seen for these helmets.

The only clues to when/where this mold/press stamp may have been used are the numbers on the front.

As usual we invite our readers to offer any theories or insight.

Peter Suciu

July 2017


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