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education

M1 Helmet Lot Numbers

Joshua Murray

"What's the heat lot number in that helmet?"

If I had a dime for every time I have to answer that question.

So much importance & significance has been placed on the alpha numeric code in the brim of the m1 helmet. Maybe it is the sheer number of helmets I've had pass through my hands, but I don't place a great amount of importance on these codes. Nevertheless I began to notice this trend in the helmet community of cataloging heat numbers. Using them to date a helmet. Using them to discredit a helmet. Using them in auction descriptions to squeeze a better ending price. Or the worst, grinding away the paint in a helmet to make them clearly visible. Grrrrr!

Picking up on this trend I started a dialogue with my friend Marc. We would have extensive discussions about "numbers and letters", so to speak. Why are they there? We knew a little. Not a lot. Can they effectively date a helmet? When were they stamped into the helmet? At the foundry or pressing plant? Is there a way to break the code? After awhile it grew into a great interest for him. After many conversations, he took the reigns and decided to do some research.

A good portion of his research was published in Military Collector & Historian. I encourage you to read the article. It is rich with information. Thanks for your dedication to getting the facts Marc!

Click HERE to view the article.


5 comments

  • Mr. Murray-in going through my stuff,I can across a M1 McCord steel pot,heat lot stamped 144B-fixed bale-front seam-original finish with original kahaki web gear, what is date of this and approx value?Thanks for your help

    richard kanoski

  • I need information on or the history of how they painted the m-1 helmet during ww2 please .

    sidney jones

  • Very Informative thanks for Sharing.

    Raul Castro

  • Great Read. Over the sixty years of buying, collecting and selling military equipment I’ve, personally owned between 35000 (a quantity given to me in the early winter of 1994) and an additional 6000+- that I bought before and after that time. I found this article extremely interesting. In 1995 I spoke to a gentleman who came into my shop in Petersburg,VA. who worked at McCord. I asked him what significance the rim numbers held. He stated they were an “annealing number” …heat treatment? However, he also said that batches of steel sheets were brought to a table behind each press by laborers whose job it was to keep said stack sufficiently supplied in order to maintain production rates…no slow down due to running out of blanks…

    What this meant is that the blanks on the first staks might still have a few of that specific number still on the bottom of the stack on the very last date of production. And various other numbers were also interspersed along the production as sheets were loaded on the stack. Sadly, I wasn’t smart enough to get his name and number nor did I have enough curiosity to gain more information at the time regard said numbers.

    I did however, discuss when so many helmets had mis-matched straps and buckle hardware.

    His answer was basically the same: each sewing station had a box of hooks and appropriate length straps depending on which side was being prepared to send to the station to be affixed to the helmet. Other laborers walked the production line with carts of pieces and made certain that the box containing individual parts were adequately stocked. Again items in the first filling may not have ever been used before the newer version was dumped atop the box at each work station. Since ( as a former Federal Warranted Contract Officer with the Government, I was aware that, unless there was a pressing safety concern or other reason for change a new contract, especially during WWII, included a clause requiring use of “existing stocks of materials until exhausted” This would account for the large variations.

    In 2001 en route to Kansas City Kansas to the Military Vehicle Preservation Society Conference, I stopped en route at a huge Antigue mall in Kentucky. I asked the lady at a desk in front of the building if anyone specialized in Military items. She said, yes and said I was in luck as he was on site. I arrived just as he was about to use a pry bar to open a wooden crate of Schlueter helmets, box dated October 1943. He sold it to me, quite reasonably. I intended not opening it until I returned to Virginia. However, due to an Airshow and 105 degree heat in Kansas City, the MPVA meeting was quite a bust, so rather than not making enough cash to return home, I reluctantly opened the crate without a DVR camera recording the event. Of the 24 hemets, with corigated paper between each helmet there was a large variety of chin strap collors and hardware…. I sold nine at that show at $70.00 each. Leaving that event I drove to the Airshow in Frederick MD, where I sold all but three of the rest at 100.00 each to reenactors.

    Clark Burdine

  • Thanks for sharing very good article.

    Todd J Roussell

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