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Catalog Number 02154
Object Name Helmet
Collection Sol Joel
Date c. 1918
Description A British Mk I helmet. The shell is composed of 13% manganese. The lining is woven of cotton twine in meshes 3/8" of an inch square. This web, fitting tightly upon the wearer's head, evenly distributes the weight of the two-pound helmet, and in the same way distributes the force of any blow upon the helmet. The netting, together with the small pieces of rubber around the edge of the lining, keep the helmet away from the head, so that even a relatively large dent will not reach the wearer's skull. The lining, as mentioned above, consists of cotton twine mesh surrounded by a circular piece of leather that holds tubular pieces of rubber, and the mesh is covered by a piece of black oil cloth. Sandwiched between the lining and the steel bowl is also a piece of felt.

This helmet is unique in that it represents the use of the British Mk I helmet by American forces. The United States Army purchased the 400,000 available British Mk. I helmets in England and issued them to the American Expeditionary Forces already in Europe. Production on the identical American M-1917 helmets did not begin until the fall of 1917.

Metal military helmet worn by Joseph Oklahombi in WWI. There is a handpainted divisional insignia for the 36th Infantry Division on the center front of the helmet; it measures 1-1/2" wide by 2-1/4" tall. The insignia consists of an inverted dark arrowhead containing the capital letter "T"; the arrowhead represents the divisional components from Oklahoma, the "T" representing the divisional components from Texas.
Dimensions H-4.75 W-11.375 L-12.375 inches
Material leather, steel, manganese
Provenance With the reintroduction of steel helmets during WWI, the American army adopted the British MKI pattern as an expedient to quickly provide a helmet for its forces. The helmets, manufactured in the United States, were re-designated the M-1917 helmet. It was retained, with a modification to the liner pads in 1936, until it was replaced by the M-1 helmet in 1941.
Search Terms military
World War I
Category Military