Monday, March 27, 2017

United States U.S. Navy "talker" helmet.

"Maintain proper circuit discipline"
I occasionally heard that phrase come over my headphones as a young Radioman in the early '70s as I was wearing the
Mk II "talker" helmet.

The Mk II was designed in 1942 and was in use well in to the 1980's.  It was a very large and somewhat ungainly helmet to wear though it did serve its purpose very well.  It was designed to accommodate the wearing of headphones for Radiomen or anyone
using shipboard sound-powered phones.

The Mk II was manufactured by the McCords Radiator Company in Detroit Michigan; 
 the "Arsenal of Democracy".

Its composition is non-magnetic Hadefield manganese steel.

In addition to accommodating headphones it also provided
a great deal of protection to the wearer.

The bowl is so wide it even provided some coverage to the shoulders of the sailor who was underneath it.

Okay, it does look a little like the helmet Rick Moranis wore in the movie "Spaceballs".

Painted sea blue the Mk II, like the Mk I, has cork applied with the paint to provide a textured, non-reflective surface.

The leather chin bales are affixed with brass wire as brass doesn't corrode in the salt water environment of shipboard living.

The liner is composed of a vinyl rubber material by Firestone
 and B.F. Goodrich.
(see ad at bottom of page)

One can easily see in this shot the channels that provide clearance for headphones as well as the head of the wearer.  The padding is very thick and semi-flexible.

The chinstrap is of horse leather and the slider-buckles are made of non-corrosive aluminum.

The chincup has a chamois leather layer next to the skin of the wearer.

I seldom found one of these helmets in which the liner didn't smell of mildew from the marine environment and it was common to have it separated somewhat from the shell.

The rim is a separate piece of magnetic steel...

and the inside of the shell is marked in ink.

This particular helmet was acquired by me for twenty dollars from noted collector and helmet authority Floyd Tubbs in the early 1980's at a militaria show in Lansing Michigan.  I found Mr. Tubbs to be very gracious and always very willing to share his expertise with a new collector.


See you next time with another cool helmet from the collection.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did you know that casts of this helmet were used as the basis for various Rebel and Imperial helmets in the 'Star Wars' films? Great website by the way. Fascinating stuff.