It has been long established that the American pressed fiber sun helmet was used as both a civilian and military helmet, but one key detail that has largely been uncertain for sure is what year the helmet was even considered for use by the military.
For years there has been an argument over the so-called “Polo” style helmet that was captured by German forces and used in the early stages of the campaign in North Africa. This writer actually tried to debunk that these were captured “Dutch” helmets, after a number of sources over the years suggested otherwise.
My argument had been that the Dutch had no African colonies so how could the German military have captured helmets intended for the Dutch Army? Continue reading →
A Canadian World War II era pressed fiber helmet. While it was against regulations many regiments issued these helmets with cap badges. This example features a 21st Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Corps cap badge. (Collection of the Author)
While little has been written about the American pressed fiber sun helmet, even less has been written about the versions used by Canada. According to our friend and colleague Clive Law the Canadian Army acquired the “fibre” helmets prior to the outbreak of the Second World War for summer training as a substitute for the more expensive and fragile Wolseley helmet.
The American pressed fiber sun helmet still remains very much a mystery at times. Its history hasn’t been well documented and while the research continues it isn’t clear when or even why changes to the patterns were made. What is notable is that the helmet appears to have gone through an evolution.
Now an interesting example has been discovered and it remains the only such one of its type. As seen above it is a camouflage version, which likely dates from the early 1940s. It features three grommet holes on each side, which are used to hold the liner and chinstrap in place. Remnants of the leather chinstrap remain. This helmet lacks the front grommet typically seen in helmets produced expressly for the USMC. Continue reading →
Part of the author’s collection of Pressed Fiber Helmets
Sadly little has been written on the American “Pressed Fiber Helmet,” which actually was in service longer than other other helmet with the American military. While we’ve previously noted that this pattern helmet was produced by two companies – Hawley Products and International Hat Company – little of its history and variations have been chronicled.
While a definitive timeline is still very much a point of conjecture and speculation, this author has attempted to create a reasonable timeline of that follows the evolution of the helmets.