Classic A.J. Morse & Son 1930's Commercial Helmet!
This helmet was found recently in the Cincinnati, Ohio area where it has spent a majority of its life! This fascinating helmet was made by the A.J. Morse & Son Company during the Great Depression - 1930's. According to the family we acquired this helmet from it was used throughout the Ohio River areas for work on dams and other state and city funded work projects.
Helmets like these were originally only ordered 1 at a time - not in huge lots like the Mark V by the military. For this reason finding an intact commercial helmet is quite difficult. In this case the helmets matching serial #'s at the neck ring provide a great reference to the helmets age. The helmet does have original A.J. Morse brails and all four have matching serial #'s, but they do differ in number and age to the bonnet and breastplate. The brail numbers date to the 1920's.
As can be seen in the photos above, the helmet has a wonderful patina and overall general appeal. It does have a somewhat complicated appearance, especially around the back, which in our opinion is a big plus. From the front one can barley see that the two side windows are not even due to the exhaust valve placement. There is also a large bulb of copper on the upper back to house a communications speaker. Originally the communications cup on the front served this purpose, but apparently the diver wanted it moved to the back - a modification we have seen before.
Unlike a lot of Great Depression era commercial helmets, this one was not abused or dented up badly. This may be due to the fact the helmet was used by a government entity and maintenance was a priority, especially when funds for new equipment was probably non-existent. The helmet does still retain a non-return valve, all 12 of its wing nuts, safety pin latch, window guards, extra communication brass fittings, glass, A.J. Morse ID plate, internal bonnet air vents and a very old speaker! These are some painted on letters on the back of the bonnet, we are not quite sure what they are. Odds are they are in some association with Ohio utilities and further research may prove interesting.
If a helmet with lots of character, unique in appearance, made by a classic US helmet manufacturer and retaining some of its original history appeals to you - there is no doubt you will enjoy this one!