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A helmet by any other name


Khaki
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Thanks LF, very informative, if Brodie held the patent and production/ownership was recognised by the WD (as shown) then Brodie would have been entitled to royalties. Pretty clear information.

khaki

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Fascinating stuff LF. Centurion's line referring to the Willis & Bates company resonates with me: They were a company that specialised in producing domed steel shapes and as such produced a range of pressurised cookers and lamps with a domed pressure vessel. This is because I know I've seen reference in the past to the helmet design being very much influenced by the ability to produce in a single stamping the domed shape which was previously used for a tureen. It strikes me that the information Robert turned up, goes some way to validating this?

On the other hand, being reminded of the wording on the helmet liner, it's little wonder they came to be referred to as 'Brodie's,' and most probably during the war itself, despite what has previously been surmised.

David

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On the other hand, being reminded of the wording on the helmet liner, it's little wonder they came to be referred to as 'Brodie's,' and most probably during the war itself, despite what has previous been surmised.

David

David,

I am sure that every soldier, at some time, turned up or fiddled with his helmet liner, and saw that ' Brodie's ' red label.

Regards,

LF

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Here is a copy of Brodie's original Patent No.11803 for his ' Improved Helmet or Head Shield ', which was applied for on 16th August, 1915 and approved on 10th August, 1916.

Once his Patent was approved on 10th August, 1916, the Patent No.11803 was added to the helmet liner stamp. Prior to the approval of Brodie's Patent, the earlier helmet liners had a stamp which read ' Patent Applied For '.

LF

post-63666-0-70174200-1379162156_thumb.j

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An excellent find, but what it actually shows is that helmets were clearly already in existence prior to Brodies patent application, which in fact seems to me to be more concerned with the design of the lining rather than the actual form of the shell, which from the way the application reads, will have already been determined; most likely by Alfred Bates from what has already been turned up. It seems the very earliest type will have been of a distinctly thicker and heavier steel than what is commonly found, and indeed, head wounds were already being experience by the middle of August 1915, when the application was made. Brodie clearly could see that the original design could be improved on, and in the process the gauge of steel used could be reduced with the resulting reduction in weight for the wearer.

David

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David,

The technical drawing in my post #19, went with the Patent application, which as you say, refers also to the helmet liner.

Regards,

LF

Do I take it this is the only patent application made by Brodie, in connection with the steel helmet?

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Do I take it this is the only patent application made by Brodie, in connection with the steel helmet?

David,

That is the only Patent I have see thus far, and is the only one mentioned inside the Brodie Helmet liner.

Regards,

LF

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Although no expert on"Brodies" but I think Granville as a point about Brodie patenting the liner of the helmet.

The basic shape of the helmet may date from much earlier, I am sure paintings of Medieval Men at Arms and Archers depict them with similer head protection. Although these would probably not be made from Steel

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Although no expert on"Brodies" but I think Granville as a point about Brodie patenting the liner of the helmet.

The basic shape of the helmet may date from much earlier, I am sure paintings of Medieval Men at Arms and Archers depict them with similer head protection. Although these would probably not be made from Steel

It is quite correct that the basic shape of the 'Brodie' steel helmet can be traced a long way back, but with the advent of WW1; for the first time in many years a need arose to produce a helmet which afforded protection from shrapnel bursts in particular, -the men originally went to war in 1914 without any such protection because its need was not fully appreciated at the time, which is why by 1915 one had been designed etc. I'm more interested in the question of just who came up with what is now an iconic piece of military equipment of two world wars. Conventional wisdom is that it was John Brodie, but then as has been shown, Alfred Bates, working in Halifax Yorkshire, and now virtually unheard of, is actually thought by some to have invented the helmet. For whatever reason, it is John Brodie's name which is much more associated with the helmet and I just think its a worthy subject to keep inquiring into. Brodie's patent of 1915 was clearly in respect of a helmet liner, although he later took out others in respect of the overall helmet.

David

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I think we are getting a lot of misleading speculation on incomplete documents.

Brodie Patented the complete Helmet.

Brodie's patent application was actually five pages long and LF only shows the preamble and last page (illustration) and not the complete document-which I have in .pdf. I haven't figured out how to post .pdf or convert.

Brodie specified the shape as can be seen with LFs posted last page of the patent, the thickness, the type steel (Manganese steel) and even how the helmet should be painted (rainbow colours)

If anyone want the complete patent just to one of many patent office websites (http://www.epo.org/searching.html) and do a search I've downloaded many patents that way and that's how I got Brodie's patent.

Joe Sweeney

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Joe,

As David has said, Brodie's Patents related to the ' overall ' helmet and It would be great to see the complete document, I tried the website you suggested without success. Is it possible for you to post the complete Patent document as a JPEG., in as large a size as you can get it to download ?

Regards,

LF

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Joe.

Likewise I too have tried the site and it returns nothing for either John Brodie or brodie helmet. Presumably not specific enough? What do you have on Alfred Bates?

David

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Curiously, there appears to be four presented in respect of helmet improvement, the earliest being Aug 1916, but the one that Lancashire Fusilier posted, seems not to be amongst them?

David

Looking over the earliest patent again, I think this must be one and the same as LF posted and it looks like it was actually dated Aug 1915.

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The August 1915 registered UK one - the first and most important - is no. 5 on the Espacenet search list. (And it was registered simultaneously in France). Publication wasn't until August 1916.

August 1916 was also the date of the USA registration.

Cheers,

GT.

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  • 5 years later...

 

vapalux history

52A7E438-B7DD-4A6E-9876-2222AEA1C287.jpeg.f46b36ff74fc385c976c40ae88200ecb.jpeg

 

Obituary Halifax courier

 

B50A0FFA-93A6-472A-9607-CD1C8A172E31.jpeg.719f0a7eef28f83ccbf1ee513f9d9bcb.jpeg

 

article from halifax courier dec 5 1915810D8C71-E53A-4CC4-A817-E1E2E31C89F4.jpeg.23ea28d5dfc6a8117f88ca790ae89c13.jpeg

 

seems as though more supplies from home towns, rather than the war office.! Every issue throughout the war has an article like this.!

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The Mayoress’s Fund refers to knitted Balaklava helmets surely?

Edited by pierssc
Clarification
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  • 2 years later...

Reporting in The Times in August 1932  on British sittings - at the Privy Council offices in London - of The United States Commission hearing 'certain claims' by British subjects for the use of inventions by the United States Government during the War, may be of interest. Additionally the reporting in 1932 on this commission's activities is the first of only 10  (7 apparently not related) returned by a search of The Times archive using 'Brodie helmet', giving further evidence that they did not become commonly known as such until more recent times)

 

War Inventions
Date: Tuesday,  Aug. 9, 1932
Publication: The Times (London, England)
Issue: 46207

 

A Claim by Mr. John Leopold Brodie, engineer, formerly of Portman-square, London now of Buffalo,  US,  for £38,425 (a royalty of 6d/helmet on each of 1,537,000 helmets)

Brodie patented steel helmets which were purchased by the US from British Government between July, 1917 and close of the war. 

Brodie had previously claimed royalties in America on 'certain' steel helmets manufactured in the US in the US Claims Court where a decision was given that Brodie's patent was 'invalid on the ground that it lacked novelty, and that Mr. Brodie was entitled to no compensation.'

 

'Mr J Meyler Symmons (presenting Brodie's claim) 'continuing his speech in support of the claim yesterday, read several newspaper cuttings describing and commending the British Steel helmets at the time they were introduced. He said he was told by the patent agents who dealt with the patents at the time that there were 100 applicants to the British Ministry of Munitions with designs of helmets for use in the the trenches. Out of the 100 applicants only one, Mr Brodie, succeeded and won the approval of the British Ministry of Munitions.  Mr Brodie made a claim in respect of steel helmets supplied by the British to the United States Government, but did not make any claim on the British Government in respect of the helmets made for the British troops. He was acting on patriotic grounds. He did not maintain that attitude with regard to the American Government. A letter from the Trench Warfare section of the British Ministry of Munitions complimented Mr Brodie on his invention, adding "As the inventor of the the British service helmet your work is well known and has earned for you the thanks of the Ministry."

 

This was followed by further discussion on 'Novelty' &'Utility' regarding the helmet's design, but that Brodie himself would be putting his arguments on these aspects of his patents in the US when the Commission returned to sit there. 

 

Mr. K. E. Shelley, on behalf of the Crown, said that the Crown would submit that, the United States had received some benefit by having a ready-made article handled over to them. The question of whether payment, should or should not be made to Mr. Brodie would depend entirely upon whether there was some agreement between him and the United States either in interviews at the American Embassy or on some other occasion. If such an agreement were found to have been made, then all the requirements of the Act under which the Commission was sitting were fulfilled, and it would appear that an award should be made. Mr. Rugg. - We were producing helmets on an extensive scale in the United States at this time.
Mr. Shelley:-If it were wholly unnecessary for the United States to give this order for British steel helmets, then presumably there would be no claim. But if that were so it would seem surprising that such an order should be given. There were repeat orders from time to time. That is some evidence as showing that there was some advantage to the United States in purchasing the British helmet.

 

Whether Brodie's claim was subsequently successful in the US does not appear to be mentioned in The Times, it would be interesting to know whether it was or not

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 The design of this lamp look like a cruise helmet.p01xtzj1.jpg.af8a810bfa6e872fcd1fc53f8552e247.jpg

This is a picture of one of the shades they pressed out. Precursor to the cruise helmet??. Even the chain fittings are similar.

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I just learned Alfred Bates was a Conservative councillor for Halifax for about six years, during the 20's. Did he possibly receive other gratuity payment/contracts for his company. I know his company had several contracts after his death. He also left about £18,653 in his will. Which went to Willis & bates Spinner and a Frank smalley mitchell accountant.

£19,000 in 1929 is worth £1,238,149.88 today

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There is supposedly An article from jan 1915 Halifax courier. In which Mr.Bates gives an interview about shrapnel helmets. Still looking for it.

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There is also mention of a pneumatic helmet the RFC was trialing , but I live to far away to be able to look.

 

Reference: AIR 1/802/204/4/1125
Description:

Trial of pneumatic helmet

Date: 1914 Jan.
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