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.
One interesting footnote in the history of the American pressed fiber sun helmet is its use by various Civil Defense groups. While the helmets likely were never produced specifically for such use, following World War II many of these helmets were likely adapted for the Civil Defense.
The tropical climate of Panama is one where sun helmets are truly practical. Thus it is not surprising that the Panamanian Defense Forces did use some American pressed fiber sun helmets prior to, and even during, the December 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama known as Operation Just Cause.
This operation occurred to depose Panamanian leader, general and dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega – the nation’s Maximum Leader – and to safeguard American lives and interests in Panama. Continue reading →