Early-WWII MSA/Hoover M1 Helmet Liner, Complete Rayon Suspension (Rare)
This original WWII M1 helmet liner is exceptionally rare in that it was not likely produced by Mine Safety Appliances, but rather by its subcontractor, Hoover, as evident by its quite unusual configuration. MSA received the very first contract for high pressure M1 helmet liners on February 4, 1942. The contract at the time was for only 12,000 liners, compared to the 1,000,000 for both Inland and Westinghouse. According to The M-1 Helmet of the World War II GI, “[. . .] MSA and Inland had trouble to get the production started and did not deliver and [sic] quantities before late May 1942” (Oosterman, 178). It was at this time that MSA subcontracted out to Hoover in order to aleviate some of the production issues they were experiencing. This helmet liner is likely a result of that partnership. Never before have I encountered an MSA-branded liner in this configuration. In fact, the only MSA liners with rayon suspensions mentioned to exist in Helmets of the ETO had studs for the removable leather liner strap, whereas this helmet liner features remnants of a stationary leather liner strap (Giard & Blais, 24-25). The liner's original rayon suspension is strong and intact; it is held in place by parkerized steel A-washers. It has recently been completed with an original size 4 rayon neckband and a size 7 1/8 rayon headband. Also unlike any other known example, the interior's duck cloth body has no distinct pattern and is almost black in appearance. The liner's exterior retains its original olive drab factory finish, with some cracking throughout. This helmet liner, in addition to forcing collectors to reconsider their understandings, may be the only surviving example of its kind. View the U.S. Militaria Forum for a detailed discussion on this rather unique item.