A. Schrader's Son US Navy Mark V - September 1917 - 81st Made!
The US Navy Mark V was first made in 1916 by A. Schrader's Son Company and also the A.J. Morse Company. Only a handful of examples exist from 1917. By 1918 orders by the US Government for victory in World War 1 and later reconstruction started to pickup. Today in the 21st Century and 100+ years afterwards, examples of the very first 1917 Mark V's are ultra rare and very desirable!
This Mark V features a Schrader ID plate with the manufactured date of September 1st, 1917. Even more impressive, the serial number is 81 - the 81st Mark V ever made by Schrader! In addition to its exceptionally early date, the helmet is complete with a wonderful patina. The copper body has developed a dark rich burgundy color. The brass hardware has also aged beautifully.
A key feature of early Mark V helmets is their exhaust valve wheel. Early 1918 and older models used an eight point exhaust wheel, which would be replaced by a four point exhaust wheel, found on all subsequent Mark V's. These early wheels are rare to find as many were replaced. This special helmet does feature the original wheel!
The bonnet and breastplate thread together as they should. The neck rings do have the number 91 on both of them. The breastplate neck ring has the number stamped upside down on it. Early Schrader Mark V's would feature a number on the neck ring unrelated to the helmets actual serial #. The match numbers do provide us with the proof the top & bottom are matching.
The brass hardware is all present, including the window guards, brails, wing nuts, brail shims, air fitting, communications fitting, communications fitting cap, air vents and dumbbell latch. Very early Schrader Mark V's did not have the pivoting dumbbell latch catch and chain. The copper body does feature hints of use long ago. Minor working dents and small blemishes are present - none are remotely close to be visually distracting.
Over the years we have found Mark V's to be a very good investment, regardless of their vintage. It goes without saying that an example made within the first 100 is of the highest investment caliber.