Big Red here at me favorite waterin hole, Cohan's Pub.
Pull up a chair, have a pint.
“Big Red, how can I become a M-1 helmet expert when I grow up?”
Allow me ta share some of me thoughts….
There are many avenues to becoming an expert M-1 helmet collector. If you have an excess of money you don’t know what to do with and you don't want to exercise your brain, you can just buy things that look cool and assume they are what the seller said they were. You can buy and post helmets on a forum trusting the consensus, of mystery persons hiding behind avatars, learning by trial and error. You can scour the inter-webs for videos and trust what Wikipedia says or, you can purchase and read the books that detail the history of the M-1 helmet, create relationships with fellow collectors, discern which ones are actually on top of their collecting knowledge, develop trust and ask them questions.
However, if paying your dues through study and forging relationships with fellow collectors isn’t your thing, you can always create an account on a popular helmet forum, select a sexy avatar name that makes obvious reference to something WWII and declare that you know everything there is to know about M-1 helmets.
Then bully all the uninformed entry-level members, argue with the actual experts when they try to interject documented proof that contradicts your posted statements and act like an obstinate ass until the actual experts leave the forum.
Once the actual experts are gone or no longer engage within the community you, with your limited comprehension of the subject, will become the new default forum expert and can rule the remaining junior collectors with a Stainless Steel rimmed, front seam welded Manganese fist.
I can’t help you with your ability to interact socially with others, but I can set you on the right path for gaining knowledge about the M-1 helmet. Your first book should be “The M-1 Helmet” A History of the U.S. M-1 Helmet in World War II, by Mark A. Reynosa.
Why Reynosa and not’ Steel Pots or Oosterman, bla, bla, bla. If you are serious about collecting the M-1 helmet and at some point, want to develop your collection to a level of high-end examples; you need to build your knowledge by collecting a library of all these books.
The primary reason I stress Reynosa’s book as your first book is because the research in this publication is the foundation of all the other books that have been published by collectors on the topic of the M-1 helmet. Reynosa is an Engineer by trade and there can be no debate that this book is organized and reads like an Engineer wrote it. Some folks struggle with this aspect of the book, which is why they prefer other authors.
However, I have found that if you read a section of Reynosa then read it again, your mind begins to develop the picture he is presenting and when you go back and read it again at a later date you continue to discover little jewels of knowledge and insight. The second reason I promote Reynosa’s book is, aside from a brief introduction of the state of the U.S. helmet leading up to the M-1, this book focuses on the M-1 helmet and does not branch out in other directions of U.S. headgear.
With Reynosa’s M-1 book under your belt, you will have the necessary foundation to navigate the other books available on the subject. Now all that remains is to figure out how to develop relationships with fellow collectors and discern which ones you can trust, and which ones are full of...
Good Luck my young M-1 helmet Padawan and remember to concentrate, feel the force flow and keep collecting fun.
Until next time, I bid ye a fond