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peregrinvs

Liner size for M1915 Adrian helmet

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peregrinvs

Hi,

 

I have this fairly tidy bare M1915 helmet shell I’m intending to restore. Could someone explain how the liner sizing system worked and how I work out what size I need?
 

Thanks,

Mark

 

3482A1D8-1D84-4ABC-B41B-F7F31A8E9542.jpeg

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Michael Haselgrove

Mark,

Simply as a matter of interest it looks like you have a helmet shell made by La Compagnie Coloniale.  However, it would be interesting to see a photo of the interior.  Anyway, good luck with the project and I hope the following helps:

Helmet Sizes 

The actual helmet shells were produced in three basic sizes, designated sizes A, B and C.  The helmets themselves were restricted to three basic sizes in order to simplify manufacture by, for instance, keeping the required tool-making to a minimum and thus keeping costs to a reasonable level. 

In addition, each of the three basic sizes of helmet was, in turn, divided into three sub- sizes. This was achieved by using a different depth of corrugated aluminium ventilation strip or by removing some of the strips.  There were therefore, in all, nine separate sizes ranging from 54cm to 62cm.  

The practice of marking helmets with their size appears to have been very variable.  Some appear not to have been marked at all.  In respect of others, the interior of the helmet bowl was stamped with the size, using an ink stamp.  These stamps take different forms.  The stamp may give the letter of the main size followed by the number of the sub-size.  For instance, B2 indicates the middle size of the three size B helmets.  Alternatively, they were stamped with the main size followed by the size of the liner in centimetres.  For instance, C61 indicated the middle of the three size C helmets.  

The size stamps were sometimes placed on either side of the ventilation slot but stamps may be found elsewhere inside the helmet bowl.  As an alternative the leather of the liner itself was stamped at the front with the size.  This practice appears to apply only to the early, one-piece liners.   

For each 1000 helmets, what was regarded as an appropriate number of each of the nine sizes were produced.  

The following table of dimensions of the various sizes may be of interest:

 

Helmet Sizes:                         A1      A2      A3      B1      B2      B3      C1      C2      C3 

Circumference of the

interior of the bowl in cm.      60       60       60       63      63       63       66      66       66 

Depth of helmet bowl

in mm.                                  105     105     105     110    110     110      115    115     115 

Diameter of helmet bowl

front to rear in mm.              201     201     201     210    210     210      219    219     219 

Diameter of helmet bowl

side to side in mm.               181     181     181     190    190     190      199    199     199 

Interior circumference of

helmet with liner in place

in cm.                                    54       55       56       57      58        59        60      61       62 

Number of helmets per size

per 1000 manufactured         10       70     250     250    160      100      100      40       20

Best wishes,

Michael.

                

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Michael Haselgrove

Mark,

Here's the second instalment.  I hope this doesn't get too boring but, as you can probably tell, I am interested in helmets!

The Liner 

Around the interior base of the bowl there were up to four rectangular strips of corrugated aluminium.  These measured .20mm thick and 3.5cm high.  The aluminium strips served to improve ventilation and provided a means of fine adjustment of the size of the helmet.  The gaps between the strips varied from 5mm to 15mm depending on the helmet size.  The number of the strips and the depth of corrugation also varied according to the helmet size.   

The corrugated aluminium strips were fixed by means of four metal strips which were soldered at the front and rear and to either side of the helmet. These also served to fix the liner.  Those on either side also served to form the base of the chinstrap fixing.   The fixing strips were 70mm long and 5mm wide.  The central section of these strips was soldered to the helmet bowl 10mm above the groove at the base of the helmet bowl.  The free ends of the metal strips were folded inwards and the twin prongs thus formed passed through the aluminium strips and the cloth of the liner band. They were then folded flush with the helmet bowl and were covered with the leather part of the liner. 

The liner consisted of  a band of felt or, more usually, cloth which was 4cm wide for all sizes of helmet.  This went around the interior base of the bowl and was fixed to it, as mentioned above, by the four double prongs.  The cloth band was made up of two layers of cloth forming a thickness of 4 to 4.5mm.  Alternatively, a single similar thickness of felt was used.  The ends of the felt or cloth band were stitched together with the stitching being placed to the rear of the helmet so as not to cause discomfort to the wearer.   

The type and colour of the felt or cloth used for the liner bands was very variable.  Much of the cloth was surplus material left over from uniform manufacture.  For instance, the bright red material used in the manufacture of trousers for the army appears to have been used in some liners, possibly from left-over material or after the use of that particular material was discontinued for the manufacture of trousers.  Examination of liner bands also reveals material of the type used to manufacture greatcoats and the short, black uniform jacket.  Also sometimes seen is finer material of the type used in the manufacture of officers’ uniforms.  The colour of the cloth varies from bright red to dark red, light blue to dark blue and from brown to black. 

The leather liner was stitched to the liner band.  Prior to September 1916, liners were of one-piece construction with either a black, shiny finish or in a natural brown.  The liner had seven tongues meeting at the apex of the helmet bowl.  However, it was recognised that there was considerable wastage of leather when making a liner in one piece.  A decision was reached in September 1916 to cut out the liner headband and liner tongues as separate pieces and then stitch them together.  Small pieces of leather, which otherwise might have been wasted, could thus be used to make the individual liner tongues.  The leather used in the later liners may be brown or black or a mixture of the two.  The later liners had six tongues. On all liners, each tongue had a hole near the end, reinforced by a metal eyelet, and through which a cotton lace was threaded and tightened to adjust the fit of the helmet.   The leather used for the liners was normally sheepskin. 

Sometimes a liner may be encountered where the headband and tongues are separate pieces of leather but there are seven tongues.  These liners are not French.  They are usually of American or Belgian origin.

Best wishes,

Michael.

 

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peregrinvs

Thank you. Replies don’t get much more informative than that. 👌

 

A play with a ruler reveals it’s a B size shell. Does this mean it can be fitted with a size 57, 58 or 59 liner?
 

Picture of interior attached.

 

Regards,

Mark

8D27F535-614A-4E84-9336-CAB610B666B5.jpeg

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Gunner Bailey

Michael

 

Many thanks for post #3

 

It explains why I have seen so many liners of variable quality over the years. I'd assumed that some were replacements but were probably original.

 

John

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Michael Haselgrove

John,

Thanks for your post and you're most welcome.

Mark,

The actual size of the helmet firstly depends on the helmet shell size group, in the case of your helmet B, and secondly on the size/number of corrugated aluminium strips fixed around the interior circumference of the helmet.  To illustrate this I attach a photo of a size B1 helmet.  For size B1 there are four strips of corrugated aluminium, those on the sides with a heavy corrugation and those at the front and rear with a smaller corrugation.  For size B2 there will be four identical strips with the smaller corrugation and for B3 two strips, one on each size, with the smaller corrugation.  I hope from the attached photo you are able to see the difference in the corrugation.  Thus, if you wanted a size B3 helmet you would install one strip with small corrugations on each side.  One quite often sees a helmet with missing or no corrugated strips and these may well have been removed to adjust the helmet size for a better fit.  If you don't propose to install any aluminium strips I suppose a size B3 liner is appropriate but have no idea what is available to purchase.

I hope this helps.

Michael.  

DSC04861.JPG

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peregrinvs

Many thanks. I think that tells me all I need to know to proceed. Now on to purchasing paint, a badge, a chinstrap and a liner assembly. I also collect ordnance, so I shall probably give it an artillery badge.

 

Cheers,

Mark

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Gunner Bailey
15 hours ago, peregrinvs said:

Many thanks. I think that tells me all I need to know to proceed. Now on to purchasing paint, a badge, a chinstrap and a liner assembly. I also collect ordnance, so I shall probably give it an artillery badge.

 

Cheers,

Mark

 

Mark

 

A few years ago I picked up a near pristine Adrian in horizon blue. It was so good I had the paint scanned by Johnson's Paints and they made me .75 of a litre of new satin finish Horizon Blue. Its restored three helmets so far.

 

Contact me if I can help.

 

John

 

 

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peregrinvs

Thank you for the kind offer, but I’ve already ordered some Horizon Bleu paint from France. There’s an eBay seller in Ukraine (of all places) that seems to have all the other parts I need at not unreasonable prices.

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Gunner Bailey

Well organised!  It's a fine condition helmet. Best of luck finishing it off.

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