January 28, 2018
By Claire Sumner, Conservation Technician
This style of helmet, dubbed a “Kelly helmet,” came into production during WWI and was still in use at the start of WWII. The Kelly was an American improvement on the British “Brodie Helmet.” Kelly helmets can be identified by the horsehair padding on the interior crown, which is protruding visibly from a hole in ours. Research indicated most British helmets used asbestos as padding. Ours is a little worse for wear with a good amount of corrosion, though that rough texture might not be caused by corrosion alone. Sources say that crumbles of cork or walnut shavings were added to the paint applied to the surface of these helmets to give them a matte appearance for better camouflage. Further analysis would be needed to know if cork or walnut was applied to our helmet, but the possibility will be taken into consideration during conservation treatment.