Not Easter Eggs?



Big Red here with a riddle for you….



What are the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” connection between M-1 helmet liners and egg crates?

Don’t feel bad if you guess wrong, this one stumped Joshua too.

The short answer: steel pressing dies.

Now for the long answer,

When the Chicago Quartermaster was ordered to take over procurement of the M-1 helmet liner, they inherited a very precarious situation. They took over a contract previously issued by the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot for a fibre liner body developed by the Hawley Products Company which had been determined to be unsatisfactory, by the Quartermaster General, from the onset. No design specifications, standards or drawings for this item existed and the Army wanted to pursue the use of plastic for which only an experimental industry existed. The production of the steel helmet had already begun dictating the shape of the liner body which without, the helmet was not wearable.

The Chicago Quartermaster faced a multitude of obstacles as they pursued the development and manufacture of a plastic liner. Two of the biggest issues being the Quartermaster suffering communication issues between branches as to who had authority to issue material priorities in conjunction with the slow reaction time of the Standardization Branch, the other being unforeseen industry related issues ranging from the need to design and acquire the necessary tooling, equipment and training of personnel to the skill levels needed.

These two obstacles collided immediately after the issue of the first high-pressure liner contracts when both contractors and the Chicago Depot attempted to acquire the molds necessary to form the new liner. First, they realized that no material priority had been issued to attain the steel necessary for the molds and that they had no access to the Keller-Machines necessary to make the molds.

A Keller-Machine is the 1940s equivalent of a modern computer driven CNC milling machine. It worked by placing a wood or plaster pattern of the shape desired on one end of the machine and a block of steel on the other. A feeler rode along the contour of the pattern while a cutter moved in tandem along the steel block cutting the shape. In this way the pattern could be copied in steel.

While the Chicago Quartermaster Depot and the Quartermaster General worked out how to attain an A-1-a rating to acquire the steel necessary for the liner molds, both the Quartermaster and the liner manufacturers began to scour the local area for machine shops or small companies that might have Keller-Machines that could be leased in order to make the necessary molds.

Amongst the companies found to have available Keller-Machines were those engaged in the manufacture of egg crates. These companies used their Keller- Machines to fashion the steel molds necessary to press paper into the egg-shaped containers that protected the eggs during shipment.

Now you know….



if your friends want to know how you gained your intel, tell em

Big Red Says!



Hey wait Big Red, what about the Kevin Bacon thing?

 Ahhh… yeah, not sure where I was going with that.

I guess eggs go well with bacon?



  • Edward Rich

    That’s a cool orgin story.

  • Kevin Rowley

    Outstanding research , Big Red! And so the story of the M1 continues to unravel.
    I’m looking forward to the next installment!

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