Friday, April 13, 2007

Italian M-1915/16 Steel Helmet in Spanish falangist livery




Here is a wonderful story of a junk store find.

My wife and I used to live in Western Michigan and one summer we were checking out the antique/junk emporiums in the Lake Michigan communities of Grand Haven and Ferrysburg. Sifting through the usual fare of Beanie babies, old LPs, telegraph wire insulators, and the usual detritus I came upon this delightful piece. Scratched, dented, and only slightly misshapen, this wonderful Italian helmet leapt to my hand. With original paint, liner, and chinstrap I was thrilled to find this example with the typically stenciled insignia on the front. And boy oh boy was the price right.

Sixteen dollars later I walked out of that lakeshore junk store, the proud new owner of a very nice old veteran of Italia's efforts in the Great War.


Here we have that classic Adrian-style profile but without the weaknesses of the four-piece French helmet.

Typical of the era, and style, this helmet has the corrugated aluminum spacers that provide some distance between the liner and the steel shell. As with the French Adrian, the spacing is barely minimal to accommodate the amount of deformation that will be caused by high-velocity shrapnel, though, again, its better than the cloth cap.

Italian helmets of the twentieth century all sport stenciled insignia in a dizzying array of designs and colors. I have not been able to identify the significance of this particular insignia. Reader input would be greatly welcomed.

This picture...
and this one illustrate the main difference between this helmet and the Italian "Lippmann" helmet of my most recent post; the crest is riveted rather than spot-welded.


And here is my favorite thing about helmets...
a mute reminder of the person who wore it into combat. just an ordinary flesh and blood person like your or me. This helmet bears the handwritten identity of the former owner: "Mario Forteleoni, 1st regt. 3rd comp." I have to wonder what became of Mario.

The only other marking that I can find is a stenciled "60" on the liner.

The chinstrap and buckle are intact although the leather is noticeably shrunken.

Peeling back the leather and wool liner reveals the ventilation hole in the top of the helmet.

Liner materials are in remarkably good condition considering the age of this helmet.

This close-up reveals that the finish was brushed rather than sprayed on.

All in all a very nice specimen of a very handsome helmet. A helmet found in a junk store but ...




fit for a king.

UPDATE I received this comment in August. Thanks Pablo for the information.
pablo massolo said...
Dear Sir I am a helmet collector from argentina and member of yahoo helmets club.
You itailian adrian was in fact used by fascist units in the SCW, the painted sign is the´´ yugo y flechas ´´of the most important franquist units, the rivetts on the comb was a normal repair dome in spain during the conflict. Is a terrific helmets, much more interesting than a regular italian one, check josebas site for more examples on this lid! Thanks for the blog is great!! POLI, my mail: polihelmet@yahoo.com ( use this if you want to contact me )
I am always interested in new helmets and contacts!
Ps: a link from josebas, the same badge on an italian M33
http://www.cascoscoleccion.com/espana/esfo33f2.htm



provenance:
accession number: MOA hmar.154.43.39
Model 1915/16 Italian helmet.
Acquired 1999, Ferrysburg Michigan.
Purchase price :$16.00
Condition: good

Come along as we explore the German M-16 in our next post.

2 comments:

Pablo Massolo said...

Dear Sir I am a helmet collector from argentina and member of yahoo helmets club.
You itailian adrian was in fact used by fascist units in the SCW, the painted sign is the´´ yugo y flechas ´´of the most important franquist units, the rivetts on the comb was a normal repair dome in spain during the conflict. Is a terrific helmets, much more interesting than a regular italian one, check josebas site for more examples on this lid! Thanks for the blog is great!! POLI, my mail: polihelmet@yahoo.com ( use this if you want to contact me )
I am always interested in new helmets and contacts!
Ps: a link from josebas, the same badge on an italian M33
http://www.cascoscoleccion.com/espana/esfo33f2.htm

Mario Forteleoni said...

Dr. mr Mannie, good morning, my name is Mario Forteleoni and i'm the nephew of that Mario Forteleoni owner of the helmet in your possession ......... My grandfather participated in the war in Africa and later died of illness on his return in Sardinia (Italy ).... that fine, but where you recovered the helmet?
The warmly greeting from Sardinia
Mario Forteleoni
info@studioforteleoni.it