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    Questions & Answers:  Helmet Liners

Answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding helmet liners are described in this section.  Additional topics can be explored by linking to one of the subject areas listed below.

 

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Were aluminum liner bands ever used in the M1942 helmet?

 

Yes, but not very often.  The M1942 combat helmet typically utilized the "second pattern" liner band introduced in 1940.  Theoretically, it is possible that some M1942 helmets utilized the earlier pattern helmet liner.  This hypothesis is based on the fact that at least one producer of aluminum liner bands (the original patent holder) manufactured this type until 1943.  Only a handful of original, untouched examples of M1942 helmets with early model "first pattern" aluminum liner bands have surfaced.  All have been dated 1942 or 1943 and are factory produced helmets, not field reworks or surplus refinished helmets.

Why were reinforced side plates added to the aluminum liner band?

 

The reinforced plates added to both the left and the right sides of the "first pattern" aluminum liner band (technically known as the M1931) were done to prevent the liner band from bending and ultimately splitting in two.  From practical use, it was determined that the aluminum was too thin to prevent stress cracks around the "D" ring mounts for the chinstrap.  As a result, the patent was amended to accommodate this modification.

I have an original helmet with a rotted liner.  Should I replace my old decayed liner with a new one?

 

It is generally considered an unacceptable practice among collectors to replace an old, worn out original liner with a replacement liner.  Even so, this is commonly done especially when original liners are still available.  The key emphasis should be placed on ensuring that an original artifact remains in true form and condition.  Modifying, altering, or replacing major components such as rivets or liners devalues the helmet's historical and monetary value.  Imagine finding a rare antique table and deciding to chop off one of its legs to replace it with a new one and you can get the general idea.

Do all original leather liners have only eight fingers?

 

No.  Most 60cm and 61cm liners have nine fingers.  The reason being that they require more leather than a smaller sized liner.  In some cases, size 58cm and 59cm liners can also possess nine finger leather liners.  In these situations, the two rear fingers are sewn very close together or the ninth is virtually cut in half.  Leather used in the assembly process was cut and fit to each of the liner bands.  In some cases, leather intended for larger liner bands was cut down to fit smaller liner bands.

How many split pins should be on a liner band?

 

Factory produced leather liner bands and rings required 12 or 13 zinc or aluminum split pins.  Earlier helmets utilized aluminum split pins while those introduced in 1940 began using split pins made of zinc.  It is not uncommon to find mid- to late-war liners still using aluminum split pins.

I have an zinc liner band with square, early patterned "D" rings.  How can this be possible?

 

In 1940 factories began producing the zinc pattern metal rings used for helmet liner assembly.  Parts left over from aluminum liner band production were often inserted and used on zinc pattern liner bands.  As a result, it is not uncommon to see a zinc pattern liner band with "D" ring mounts intended for aluminum bands, or visa versa.  Likewise, aluminum liner bands produced in 1940 commonly used the newer, round pattern "D" rings most often associated with the zinc pattern liner band ring.  When liner bands are encountered with these odd variations it is generally a good sign that the liner band is original and dating from the 1940 to 1941 time frame.  Common sense holds that factories used whatever parts were available until they were used up entirely.  Older parts were mixed with newer parts until depleted.

I have a liner band ring that has no size or date marks in the metal.  How can this be possible?

 

Some early as well as late pattern liner band rings received no maker's marks.  In addition, some marks were pressed into the metal with little force making them quite shallow and virtually impossible to read.

I have a liner that has double inked size stamps on two leather fingers.  How can this be possible?

 

It is not uncommon to find late pattern zinc liner bands with leather fingers that have been marked twice.

I have a liner that has no markings on the leather.  How can this be possible?

 

Leather components were assembled by hand and added to the metal liner band rings.  In some cases, the factory worker simply forgot to ink one of the leather fingers with a size stamp.

I have a leather liner that looks to have had a large section replaced.  How can this be possible?

 

Scraps from the full assembly process were made larger by the addition of another finger or two in order to make them usable.  This type of combination looks odd but is in fact 100% authentic to the time period.  Liners with these characteristics are not "field repaired" modifications or postwar reproductions.  Rather, they are originals that were factory produced by the splicing of two parts of leather combined to make a new liner.

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