Monday, September 21, 2009

From Before the time of Modern Helmets

Here's a video I put together of a remarkable event that I attended one week ago. It's a short reminder of service, sacrifice, and the dignity we can bring to remembrance.

Go here to view.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

German M.1916 "high visor"

Never pass up a dumpster.

Here's the sort of story we all hope to be involved in personally.

First, the helmet. New to my collection is this very nice WWI German M.1916

A fine specimen of that most iconic of early 29th century lids.

Although sans liner, the gray/green paint is about 90% present.

That dramatic Teutonic profile always makes me just a touch uneasy.

With a pleasing patina, this helmet seems to have been, until recently, treated very well,

until it was quite unceremoniously pitched into a dumpster and headed for a Western Maryland landfill.

Then, this young man came along to change the outcome of the story.

This is my friend Jim. Jim is a motorhead in the best sense of the word. He has a passion for, and is very handy with, automobiles. With the budgetary constraints of most 18 year-olds with sensible parents, Jim has to use creative - though legal - means to acquire usable spare parts for whatever vehicle he's currently working on. Those means include occasional "dumpster diving".

Jim was diving a dumpster that was shared by an auto repair shop as well as an antique store. Imagine young Jim's surprise when he emerged from said dumpster not with an exhaust manifold, fan shroud, or hood strut, but this very nice old soldier from the trenches of WWI.

And imagine my surprise when this fine young man recently gave it to me to add to my collection!

Acquired just two weeks ago this lid may turn out to be a favorite. I already have a nice garden-variety M.1917 which, unlike this one, still has most of its liner (check it out here). Otherwise the two helmets are nearly identical.

The dome stamp "R440" is quite crisp and the intact paint is shown here to good effect.

Though no liner or chinstrap are present, there is still a single strap fastener end.

The characteristic lugs are quite crisp with nice squared, sharply defined edges...

and are still very tightly secured with a large washer on the inside of the shell.

All split rivets are present...

and in very good condition.

As my M.1917 this is size E.T. 64, visible here on the side skirt and...

as a ghost image, here on the exterior. Some stamping mill!

All in all a delightful piece, though no standout until I set it on a level surface facing my M.1917:

voila! The storied "high-visor" early production version of the M.1916.

Thanks Jim, for bringing something new, and special, to my collection.

And thanks Olaf for the comment below which prompted me to view this lid as an M.1916 rather than an M.1917!