USMC Prototype?

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At the recent Show Of Shows (SOS) in Louisville a fascinating helmet was found – and to say I’ve never seen anything like it would be an understatement. It appears to be a commercial/civilian sun helmet likely from the 1930s. It features a USMC EGA (Eagle/Globe/Anchor) stamp on the front, and the faint remnants of a USMC stamp on the inside rear visor.

This helmet is of the basic shape of the pressed fiber helmets that were used by the USMC from the 1930s to the modern day. Exactly when this helmet was made is unclear – and any opinions or theories would be welcome.

PlaskonAd

An ad for Plaskon’s Resin Glue from a 1950s trade magazine. Note a similar looking helmet in the ad.

It is this author’s theory that it is an early prototype – possibly a test helmet of the early Hawley helmets, but it could also be a commercial contractor helmet that was used near a USMC base or outpost such as Wake Island or the Philippines. In such a case it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that a Marine might have “pressed” the helmet into service.

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While this helmet is misshapen a side view shows the profile of the pressed fiber helmet along with the faux patterns that mimic the British Standard Pattern helmet on which the USMC fiber helmets were likely based.

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The EGA stamp on the front, as well as real rather than faux puggaree.

However, it could also be an “in-country” item from Vietnam or another USMC outpost. Perhaps it was a gift to a retiring Marine? In the end we likely will never know. It is a fascinating example nonetheless.

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The interior shows a similar headband to the type seen in Hawley and International Hat Company helmets.

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The USMC stamp at the brim of the helmet as well as a close up of the rattan spacer at the headband. While this may not look it today, this could have been a fairly well-made and possibly not inexpensive helmet.

We welcome any insight or suggestions.

Peter Suciu

March 2017

 

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