"Pilots, Man Your Planes!"   
                                         WWII U.S. Naval Aviation Collector's Guide                                                                              
                    The Aviators'
                    Summer Helmets
 
An iconic item of headwear, the Aviators' Summer Helmet was authorized for issue to Naval aviation pilots and flight crews in sizes 6 3/4-8. The official description is as follows: "This summer helmet is constructed from khaki cotton cloth and is furnished with chin cup, goggle keepers and radio cordage support. Ear pads and phone mountings are furnished seperately with each helmet."

To date, we have found examples of these helmets made by four manufacturers under ten different contracts, as detailed in the table below. If you are aware of any other contracts, please let us know and we'll add them to the list.

As you may have already noticed, the helmets produced by each contractor have their own subtle differences which allow us to distinguish one from another without seeing the interior label. Some of the more noticeable features can be used for identification purposes in vintage photos as well. For example, the external seams and dark concave wire buckles of the helmet worn by LCDR John S. "Jimmy" Thach above and below are unique to the Mirabelli produced M-450.

Specification M-450 & M-450-1, Helmets, Summer, Aviators', Part Number NAF-1092S

 

Identifying Characteristics

 

Manufacturers of Spec. M-450:

 

 Mario G. Mirabelli      Cont. No. NOs 88858

 H.L.B. Corp. N.Y.       Contract Nos. 86480, Contract No. Nos.-96014, Contract N156s-18358         

                         and Contract N156s-18833
 B-G Inc.                Contract NXS-1008 and Contract NXS-1008A

 

 

1.) Mario G. Mirabelli      Cont. No. NOs 88858

 

Buckles:                      Darkened, concaved

 

Edge & Seam Tape:             Wide*

 

Buckle re-enforcement:        Covers seam tape

 

Goggle Straps and Cord

Keeper:                       Wide straps, narrow keeper, all box X stitched

 

Label location:               Rear center, printed black on white, rectangular

Size tag, printed black on white, bottom rear of middle seam

 

Brow contour:                 Arched                                                                    

 

  *Note: Has external seam re-enforcements. All others have internal re-enforcements.

 

 

2.) H.L.B. Corp. N.Y.       Contract Nos. 86480

 

 

Buckles:                      Chromed w/ cast roller

 

Edge Tape:                    Narrow

 

Buckle re-enforcement:        Under seam tape, w/ double stitched edge

 

Goggle Straps and Cord

Keeper:                       Narrow straps, narrow keeper, all box X stitched

 

Label location:               Right ear, woven gold on black, rectangular

                              Size tag, woven white on black, stitched to                    

                              right side of label                             

 

Brow contour:                 Arched


3.) H.L.B. Corp. N.Y.       Contract No. Nos.-96014

 

 

Buckles:                      Chromed w/ cast roller

 

Edge Tape:                    Narrow

 

Buckle re-enforcement:        Under seam tape, w/ double stitched edge

 

Goggle Straps and Cord

Keeper:                       Narrow straps, narrow keeper, all box X stitched

 

Label location:               Right ear, woven gold on black, rectangular

                              Size tag, woven gold on black, stitched to                    

                              top side of label 

Brow contour:                 Arched   

 

 

 

4.) H.L.B. Corp. N.Y.       Contract Nos. N156s-18358

 

 

Buckles:                      Smaller, Chromed w/ cast roller

 

Edge Tape:                    Narrow

 

Buckle re-enforcement:        Under seam tape, w/ double stitched edge

 

Goggle Strap and Cord

Keeper:                       Narrow straps, wide keeper, all box X stitched

 

Label location:               Right ear, woven gold on black, rectangular

                              Size tag, woven white on black, stitched to                    

                              right side of label

Brow contour:                 Arched 

 

 

5.) H.L.B. Corp. N.Y.       Contract Nos. N156s-18833

 

 

Buckles:                      Chromed w/ cast roller

 

Edge Tape:                    Narrow

 

Buckle re-enforcement:        Under seam tape, w/ double stitched edge

 

Goggle Strap and Cord

Keeper:                       Narrow straps, wide keeper, all box X stitched

 

Label location:               Right ear, woven gold on black, rectangular

                              Size tag, woven white on black, stitched to                    

                              right side of label

Brow contour:                 Arched 




6.& 7.) B-G Inc.                Contract NXS-1008 and NXS-1008A

 

 

Buckles:                      Chromed or dull gray, both convex

 

Edge Tape:                    Narrow

 

Buckle re-enforcement:        Under seam tape, w/ single stitched edge

 

Goggle Strap and Cord

Keeper:                       Wide straps, box X stitched, wide keeper, box stitched

 

Label location:               Right ear, woven gold on black, square

Size tag, printed black on white, stitched to bottom of label

 

Brow contour:                 "Widow's Peak"  
 

 

 

 

Manufacturer of Spec. M-450-1:

 

H.L.B. Corp. N.Y.          Contract NXS. 1020 and NOS. 1020A

 

8.& 9.) H.L.B. Corp. N.Y.      Contract NXS. 1020 and NOS. 1020A

 

 

Buckles:                      Chromed or darkened, both w/ cast roller

 

Edge Tape:                    Narrow

 

Buckle re-enforcement:        Under seam tape, w/ double stitched edge

 

Goggle Straps and Cord

Keeper:                       Narrow straps, narrow keeper, all box stitched

 

Label location:               Right ear, woven gold on black, rectangular

Size tag, woven gold or white on black, stitched to top or left side of label

 

Brow contour:                 Arched  

 

 

 

Manufacturer of Part Number NAF-1092s:

 

Slote & Klein              Cont.NXS-9677

 

 

10.) Slote & Klein          Cont.NXS-9677

 

 

Buckles:                      Chromed, concaved or w/cast roller

 

Edge Tape:                    Wide

 

Buckle re-enforcement:        Covers seam tape

 

Goggle Strap and Cord

Keeper:                       Wide straps, box X stitched, narrow keeper, box X stitched

 

Label location:               Left ear, woven gold on black, rectangular

                              Size tag, printed black on white, bottom left rear of middle seam
                                                    

 

Brow contour:                 Slight "Widow's Peak"