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Restoring Brodie helmet


spconnolly007
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Hi Dave, am I correct in assuming that the front peak is slightly shorter in lenght than the back? This seems to be the case on mine although that could be due to the edge rusting away over time I suppose. Will definately try paint stripper next but as you suggest will not leave on too long. The original coat underneath does appear to be quite tough thankfully, would this of been baked on or just sprayed and left to dry

Width of rim is same front & rear, the front being determined by which way round the lining was installed and if there was a protector rim, its my understanding that the joint in it would be to the rear so the lining would go in relative to this - could well be corrected on this point, but it seems logical. As regards how the paint was applied, I've seen film of women with huge paint brushes applying the paint in 3 or 4 sweeps of the brush, but after that I don't know if they were baked - I suspect not due to time constraints. Other makers may well have sprayed them, but all the helmets I've seen seem to have obvious brush strokes in the paint.

Dave

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I have gently applied some compound used for car paint and have revealed what looks like another darker shade of green underneath. Hope the photo shows what I mean although I am partially colour blind so it could be brown for all I know!!! Does this resemble the apple green of early Brodie's?

Hi Sean

From what I can see from your picture the the colour looks very similar to the original colour on my early War Office Pattern 'raw edge' Brodie. The colour did vary quite a bit on the early helmets and I have another 'raw edge' shell which is a much brighter green and also one with an original mid brown colour just to confuse things !!

I know that there was little left of the chinstrap bales on your shell, but if they were smaller and more rectangular than those on Lancs Fusiliers and Granville's helmets that certainly would point to an early shell. I look forward to seeing what is eventually revealed when you strip off some more paint.

Regards, Roger

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Thanks roger, thats very positive re; the paint, and I would say without doubt that the bales look narrower on mine, but thats assuming that the split rivets were the same size on most helmets? Just got in from work armed with nitromors so here goes, will post a photo later!!

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Good evening Gentlmen, it appears that I am in possession of just a rusty old brodie, but there are quite a few traces of what appears to be black paint under the green that I removed. Any thoughts?

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On further inspection and little bit of 0000 wire wool I have revealed these markings, can anyone enlighten me? Whatever the turn out, as ive yet to strip the outside, I shall re-paint and re-liner it to the what I hope will be a fitting restoration as im pretty certain the wife will not let me buy another one :(

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On further inspection and little bit of 0000 wire wool I have revealed these markings, can anyone enlighten me? Whatever the turn out, as ive yet to strip the outside, I shall re-paint and re-liner it to the what I hope will be a fitting restoration as im pretty certain the wife will not let me buy another one :(

Shaun,

MS = MS Miris Steel Co. Ltd (Sheffield) who I believe made them between 1916 – 1917. With so little original paint to preserve, you can see why someone had a go at it, if it were mine I would feel is appropriate in the circumstances to do a full restoration on it as you seem to be working towards.

Dave

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Hi Wendy, "Wise Woman" is not a term I would associate with my other half, and I can confidently state this as I know full well that she will not read this :D . Hi Dave. looks like I fell on my feet with my first Brodie purchase(and probobly last) I have found a site covering early Brodie designs and it seems that the War office agreed to two prototypes early in the war, Type A and B, of which A had a 50mm ring of steel around the sides and back, which reduced to 40mm at the front. Sound familiar? I mentioned the other evening that the peak seemed shorter, and the photo on-line shows the A type painted black!! Now I know where im going with this im even more in need of your expert advice. Would it of been used in black or painted some shade of green or in fact would this design have been used at all if its a prototype? Is it possible to replace the original type of liner? Regards Sean

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Hi Wendy, "Wise Woman" is not a term I would associate with my other half, and I can confidently state this as I know full well that she will not read this :D . Hi Dave. looks like I fell on my feet with my first Brodie purchase(and probobly last) I have found a site covering early Brodie designs and it seems that the War office agreed to two prototypes early in the war, Type A and B, of which A had a 50mm ring of steel around the sides and back, which reduced to 40mm at the front. Sound familiar? I mentioned the other evening that the peak seemed shorter, and the photo on-line shows the A type painted black!! Now I know where im going with this im even more in need of your expert advice. Would it of been used in black or painted some shade of green or in fact would this design have been used at all if its a prototype? Is it possible to replace the original type of liner? Regards Sean

To be honest I wasn't aware that the width of brim specifically altered front to back on any of the Brodies, and can't help wondering if this was actually by design or a manufacturing anomaly considering the difference is just 10mm, less than 1/2"? The shells were punched from a square of steel in one action as far as I'm aware, so the jig taking the sheet would only have to be out a fraction for this sort of difference front to back to manifest itself, something I think quite probable especially on the early versions. I'm sure someone out there can say one way or the other if this difference is by design and if so why.

What is the number next to the MS stamp? It looks like it might be 12? It's my belief (using applied logic) that the very first pressing would come out as 1 and subsequent pressings, or heat firings as discussed previously would logically number off. As a result, the lower the number the earlier the date of manufacture - I can see no other logical explanation for how else such a number system would otherwise work. If you do have a number 12 (low in my experience) or something similar, it will strongly support the theory that you have a very early made Brodie; quite possibly originally a Raw Edge and certainly one to feel well pleased at having picked up, even if it does need restoring.

As regards being black in colour, again that is a new one on me. I've always been under the impression the very first were produced in an experimental shade of Apple Green, a colour which I believe was arrived at after some surplus railway company paint was made available in bulk and at short notice; again someone else might be able to give more information.

Concerning the type of liner you would want in it, I'm not aware of any replicator making this particular pattern but once again maybe someone else can contribute.

Dave

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Hi Dave, this is the link to the site I mentioned www.greatwarcollection.nl/Html/Brodie.html see what you think. Would it not make sense if you were to be given the job of design, to make the peak shorter to improve vision, or so they thought, and later realised that the tooling involved in production would be simpler by making the band the same size all round? Regarding the other detail, I think it is 1Z. On the other side of the MS there seems to be an oblong stamp with MY8YS inside it, but cant be sure. Can anyone else give any advice as to purchasing an early liner? As has been said already, these things went throught so many hands and refurbs, I doubt that it matters having a later liner anyway if it comes to it. Regards Sean

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Hi all, have removed as much paint as I'd dare, and as you can see, hopefully, a fare amount of black and what looks like traces of possibly apple green? Definately a different shade of green to the top coat anyway. Everything seems to point towards an early 'A' prototype helmet made by Miris steel of Sheffield. The front edge would have been approximately 40mm and back/sides 50mm, as is mine. It is also magnetic, pointing towards the earlier design, I think. Not sure that I want to paint it now, as I am quite happy with the look, would anyone suggest possibly a light gun oil to keep in good order? May still consider painting but my feeling at the moment is to leave as is. Will manufacture new Bales this week in work and hopefully then decide on the paint issue. Is it possible to buy paint of the same colour that would of been used or is it a case of getting the nearest shade you can find? Yet to source liner but have been given a couple of pointers on the matter, but would dearly love to pick up an original, but I think thats a wish too far!! Many thanks to everyone who has helped with their advice and knowledge, and I shall keep you updated on progress, lets hope I do it justice, regards Sean

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Hi Shaun,

Bit surprised others haven't contributed with some more thoughts on the subject.

I'm quite intrigued on the 10mm difference in width of the brim, front to back, which does appear to be a feature of some of these early Brodies, but as I said previously, I do wonder if this is by design or just a manufacturing anomaly. I can't see it offered any advantage to reduce the brim width at any point, in fact I would have thought the contrary was the case and maybe this is why this only appears on these very early versions?

From the latest picture you've posted, I would venture to suggest the green on show may well have been its original coat of paint, and may well have been designated Apple Green, but remember this was a made up shade, and from what I've seen it would not have actually appeared as a uniform colour over the helmet, as it would today if someone brushed it with a proprietary paint of said colour. I can't qualify this, but I suspect the original paint mixes were much more, dare I say 'thrown together' in the heat of the moment to produce 'something suitable' which is why there are so many shades of paint on so many different helmets, not forgetting also the effect of atmospheric conditions on the paint over the past decades.

With the helmet I restored, I simply wanted to give it a suitable khaki drab, but with more emphasis on the brown rather than the green. I created the paint shade to suit using none other than water based garden wood shades - Old English Green and Brown Oak! My helmet had been stripped back to bare metal and the paint was liberally applied on a nice hot day, enabling it to dry in minutes. 12mths later it has some specks of rust coming through which actually helps it look all the more convincing. Whether to repaint your own or not will have to be a personal choice, however if you don't want to paint it; to keep things looking as natural as possible when you remake the bales I would try and source some suitably rusted tin sheet. If you're keeping your kit in a dry environment I wouldn't have thought it necessary to wipe it with oil etc.

The black paint you have is another intrigue. The only use of black paint on a Brodie that I can think of would be for the purpose of a Wardens helmet in WW2 or the emergency services such as the police etc. Maybe someone else can comment on this, but if this were correct then it adds weight to the suggestion I put forward some time ago, that after the war, many Brodies were reused and presumably refurbished for this very purposed?

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Thanks again for your input Dave. Did you look at the link I provided on an earlier post? This example does appear to me to be black(or poss blue/grey, I read somewhere)but as I mentioned earlier, I do suffer from a degree of colour blindness so Im not the best person to ask on the subject(better make sure the wifes about if I decide to paint it, could wind up with the only pink brodie known to man!!) My only concern with not painting, is trying to match up split rivets/bales with original paint effect, but like you said its possible. I may also need to look into the possibility of trying to secure the liner to the original rivet if possible as I have detected what looks like a small split around the original and I would hate to risk causing any further damage. In all honesty I think a light paint job is looking more likely, and as you mention, in time this will deteriorate to give a more pleasing effect. Still want an early liner though!! Regards Sean

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PM between Paddy60th and myself-The helmet debate is getting more interesting by the minute. As your helmet is magnetic it is most probably an early type 'A' like mine although recent research by Marcus Cotton, an expert on Brodies, now defines them as early 'War Office Pattern' as opposed to type 'A'. His research states that 25,000 magnetic steel helmets were ordered by the War Office on 24/9/15 of which approx 4,000 were made before the decision was taken on 12/10/15 to manufacture helmets from non magnetic manganese steel which had a far superior ballistic resistance. It would appear from this that both yours and my magnetic helmets could be from this intial 4,000 batch but who knows !!

Just to complicate and confuse things, Cotton's research states that the possible manufacturer of the first helmets was the Army and Navy Cooperative Society. The steel supplier at that time is stated as Thomas Firth and Sons. Miris did not start supplying steel until March 1916 - again according to his research. The plot thickens !!

Some more dimensions of the early patterns which may be of interest are :- Front to rear 317 mm and side to side 295mm. Brim at front and rear 40mm and 50mm at the sides.

I'm not sure whether the darker - black ? - would have seen service on the front line but again this is anyone's guess.

I really look forward to the results on the paint stripping on the outside of the helmet - be very gentle with this as you may reveal more original paint than is on the inside.

Do feel free to post our conversations on the Forum if you would like to.

Kind RegardsRoger

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Could it get any more complicated? In between admiring my handy work of stripping paint from said Brodie, Ive had a look around the forum and found a thread started about Brodie Makers. The guy goes on to say and show photos of what looks like a similar example to my own, but with an LS marking on the edge. Paddy60th joins in the debate, but can give no clue as to the LS marking, but states that the MY8YS stamp that I mentioned is on mine, is in fact a Miris stamp. So far, so good, I then return to my Brodie and notice that very faintly, either on top of, or under my MS, is LS stamped in the opposite direction. Any thoughts?

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This is precisely why I enjoy the subject of the Brodie - there is still a good deal not fully understood.

MLS & LS have cropped up before and continue to prove illusive. Here's an extract from a 2009 thread, which doesn't clear anything up particularly, but demonstrates how much this sort of question has been visited but still without conclusive results.

Posted 05 September 2009 - 08:54 AM

If the helmet once had a rim, it should still be visible, even if removed decades ago.

The following are some points about the model B 1915 Brodie from the Collectors & Researchers Guide to the Great War:

The model B rimless Brodie was made of hardened non magnetic steel

Usually painted apple green (rimmed helmets are khaki)

The liner is secured by a single rivet punched through the dome

The chinstrap has a prong adjuster (rimmed helmets have a slider buckle)

The chinstrap is attached by folding the strap over having passed it approx. 28mm long by 9mm wide. The loop formed is riveted with a single 2 pronged rivet with the prongs folded over to secure the strap.

The liner consisted of a shiny oilskin type which the troops thought too slippery as the helmet moved around.

Steel suppliers etc. (found this on my laptop and is attributed to Marcus Cotton. Don't know where I got the info)

Steel suppliers:

FS, Thomas Firth and Sons (Sept.15 thru 19)

HS, Hadfields Ltd. Jan 16 thru 1919

BS, W Beardmore & Co. Ltd. Jan 16 thru 19

MS, Miris Steel Co. Ltd March 16 thru 17

Until August 1916 most of this steel was supplied to Joseph Sankey and Son Ltd. for pressing into helmet shape. The remaining 75,000 sheets went to Bleriot Ltd in London or Army & Navy Cooperative.

Sheffield Munitions committee suppliers:

A) Helmet Manufacturer

D, James Dixon & Sons Dec 15 till?

H, W Hutton & Sons Dec 15 till?

HH, Harrison Bros. & Howson Ltd. Dec 15 till?

M, J&J Maxfield & sons Dec 15 till?

R, John Round & Sons 1916

V, W&E Viener Dec 15 till

Steel Supplier

A, Edgar Allen and Co. Ltd 16-18

F, Thomas Firth and Sons 16 till 18

O, Samuel Osborne & Co Ltd. 16 thru 18

V, Vickers Ltd 16-17

B, Bury's & Co. 16-18

Codes on helmets should read M/A That is helmet made by J&J Maxfield & sons from steel supplied by Edgar Allen and Co. Ltd followed by a lot code for the steel.

Sheffield only produced small quantities a week, Edgar Allen and Co. Ltd was known to mark helmets with "Imperial".

Helmet manufacturers not part of the Sheffield Munitions Committee Group:

Army & Navy Co-operative Society Sept 1915 thru Jan 1916 (Not Marked)

Joseph Sankey & Sons Ltd. Oct 15 to Oct 16 (No marks except Steel suppliers)

Bleriot Ltd. May 1916 to October 1916 (No marks except Steel suppliers)

Hadfields Ltd. Aug 1916 to 1919 (Prior to Aug 1916 this firm only supplied steel no mark other than original Steel supplier mark) Aug 16 thru 19

W Beardmore & Co. Ltd. Aug 1916 thru 1918 (Prior to Aug 1916 this firm only supplied steel no mark other than original Steel supplier mark) Aug 16 thru 18

Miris Steel Co. (Prior to Aug 1916 this firm only supplied steel no mark other than original Steel supplier mark) Sept 16 thru 17.

Other marks not 100% identified:

MLS ?

FKS Possibly Thomas Firth & Son

M&S possibly Maxfield & Sons.

As for restoration, I think it's a matter of opinion. I'd leave it as is, a restored helmet will look brand new and for me that's just not right but then I like the been there done that look.

Hope some of the above is useful.

Tony

The thread link: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=132436

And here's another link going back to 2007 when the subject was being discussed again: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=73643 - some more interesting information, but of particular interest to you Sean will be the references to the the US stamp marks, which feature a 'Z'. I don't want to cloud your research even further, but maybe yours might have had US ancestry along the way!?

Dave

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Hi Dave, good work and thanyou, but consider my research even cloudier!! Where on earth does LS come into it, could it be another US connection? Is it possible that the short production run of magnetic shells which were obviously passed over for the prototype 'B' within a couple of weeks, leaving a small number of 'A' type kicking around, that these could have been passed on to the Americans as samples for them to work from? Hence Z and possibly LS? In all honesty, I paid £15 for my shell thinking with a little bit of work and a re-paint, I'd have a nice little wall display to go with some other item's. Being the Inquisitive type that i am, I thought I may ask for a few handy tips for my re-furb, little knowing that i would open a can of worms!! Certainly interesting though, kind regards Sean

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You might find this interesting, not sure what I'm doing wrong but I can't upload a picture from this PDF which features a Miris Steel made Brodie showing how if can stand taking a round or three from a Mauser. The helmet remains un-punctured, but I think the wearer would have a splitting headache afterwards!

http://www.royalarmouries.org/assets-uploaded/documents/Miris_Steel.pdf

Concerning the LS issue, whilst its unresolved, I would suspect that MS, MLS and or LS are all in some way inter related and possible trace back to Miris as the maker.

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Thats not a bad paint job Granville. Can you give further details on the paint manufacture? Regards Paul. PS I've posted my LS marked Brodie before on the forum.

Hi Paul.

I recall the LS cropping up after I did some trawling on the forum. I find it fascinating that after such a long time no one seems to have been able to conclusively pin down whose the LS moniker was.

Concerning the paint, thanks for the compliments, the picture was taken in the attic where my kit has to live these days, but I think there's one out there on the forum taken in daylight from when I first did the restoration work.

The paint, or more strictly the woodshades are from the Wilkinsons timber paint range: http://www.wilkinsonplus.com/bin/venda?ex=co_wizr-locayta&collate=price&collate=pdxttype&collate=pdxtcolourn&collate=pdxtbrandn&collate=pdxtsizen&collate=pdxtpowern&collate=pdxtcapacityn&termtextkeywordsearch=timber%20paint&typekeywordsearch=keyword&fieldrtype=type&termtextrtype=invt&typertype=exact&termorder=keywordsearch%3Artype&template=wz_locayta&pagenum=2&perpage=10&threshold=0&spellcorrect=1&datasource=wilkinsonplusen&setpagenum=1&perpage=

I happen to have a garden railway set-up and had been using the a green and a dark brown on that so decided to try a mix of the two to see what I could come up with; the results speak for themselves. Looking on the Wilkinsons site, I can't see what I thought was called Old English Green - maybe its time of year, but these are the two colours involved. Wilkinsons range is very good VFM and thicker than other brands which helps in this application. No priming required, just make sure the metal is degreased & dry and then slap it on with a good broad brush. The more coats the more effective it looks.

Dave

PS I might just add that if you water the Old English Green shade down so that it is very liquid, it makes an amazing stain for webbing which is simplicity itself to work with. Will produce a near permanent effect however, so practice on something first.

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Surely Mod's this has to be off topic!! We are not here to discuss the the Wilkinsons timber paint range :D sorry Dave could'nt resist!!

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Surely Mod's this has to be off topic!! We are not here to discuss the the Wilkinsons timber paint range :D sorry Dave could'nt resist!!

Or my garden railway!! :D

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I'd quite like to see pics of your garden railway, but only if the engines were built between 1914/18!! A friend of mine is complete railway nut!! Back to the Brodie, bales have been made and rivets will be finished tomorrow hopefully. Question; originally, were the bales meant to turn on the rivets or were they fixed tight? I presume tight, but thought I'd ask. An idea popped into my head today regarding the LS/MLS question. Maybe Wardog can help here by explaining or showing a photo of the position of the stamp on his Brodie, mine are faintly under the MS. Could it be that Miris set up the tooling to stamp the first 'A' prototype's but were supplied the steel from another manufacturer, hence their mark on the steel sheet. This could be proved if Wardog's stamp(or anyone else that cares to join in) is in a different position to mine, which could only be determined by the position that the steel was placed into the press tool(im a toolmaker of 31yrs so I know what Im talking about now!!). This would certainly explain why the LS is under the MS on mine. Only problem we have now is where does the Z1 come in to it, or 1Z. Dave, I might purchase a garden railway, but only if all the rolling stock is stamped with easily identifiable manufacturing marks!!!!! Regards Sean

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Question; originally, were the bales meant to turn on the rivets or were they fixed tight? I presume tight, but thought I'd ask.

They were originally fixed tightly so they didn't turn at all, but they often work lose with age/use, or possibly were deliberately worked lose at the time (as you sometimes see the odd original with the bails clearly and deliberately changed to angle forward and make it easier to wear the chinstrap over the peak when not in use).

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Thanks Andrew, quick post as im off to make some Brodie split pins, I mean work :whistle:. LS, Leadbetter & Scott, Sheffield. Looks like they wrapped up in 1919, but like there neighbour Miris, were producing cutlery before doing their bit for the war effort. A line of inquiry me thinks. MLS though? Sean http://www.google.co...ZBN7asVWIFaggnQ

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