Tuesday, July 26, 2016

U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Helmet, Cascade circa 1990's, USCG Rescue Swimmer Helmet, Boat Crew Helmet, Water Rescue Teams

Today we'll be taking a look at another recent addition to my helmet collection.  This helmet is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran from out here in the Pacific Northwest.

This helmet was made by Cascade Helmets and was configured to USCG specifications for issue to US Coast Guard Boat Crews, Rescue Swimmers and other Special Rescue Teams.  In 1995, Cascade entered into a relationship with the US Coast Guard to supply them with this helmet, for all of their rescue crews. 

USCG Rescue Swimmer

US Coast Guard Ice Rescue Team Member.

US Coast Guard Boat Crew making a rescue.

These helmets continued in service until very recently.  Several years ago, the Coast Guard changed the official issue Rescue Helmet to either the Gentex SOHAH Helmet, or Mango Helmet.  There may be a few of these "old" Cascade helmets out there in service, but from what I can tell, the Gentex and Mango helmets are the only ones issued now.

These cascade helmets are still used by civilian Water Rescue Teams all over the United States.  In fact, the Swift Water Rescue Team from Butte County Fire Department, California (my old department from the 1980's!), currently uses them.

Butte County Fire Department, California.  Swift Water Rescue Team.

These Cascade helmets are rugged and tough.  They feature closed cell foam liners and numerous vents to allow water to drain off.  They have a very unique chinstrap system that consists of four anchor points on the helmet, along the rim of the helmet.  

The reflective tape on this helmet is applied in the USCG pattern and the helmet has a square of soft velcro on the side so that a strobe light can be applied.

There are three plastic snaps on the brow of this helmet for mounting a visor.  I have not seen any photos of the visors installed on these USCG helmets, but they may have been supplied, but not used.  Here is photo of what the helmets look like with the visor installed:

Stock manufacturer's photo.

Before we get into the photo album, here are a few photos of "yours truly" modeling this helmet:

Now let's take a closer look at this Cascade Rescue Helmet:

Monday, July 25, 2016

Zivilschutz Helm, West German Civil Defense Helmet, Schuberth Type ZS, 1970's-1990's, with ZS ZB Headlamp

Today we'll be taking a look at another unique Civil Defense helmet, (and headlamp).  This time the helmet is from West Germany.

This helmet was one of the official Civil Defense helmets for all of the German Civil Defense Agencies during the 1970's,1980's, and into the 1990's.  

The German Civil Defense Organization was spilt up into quite a number of sub-departments that were each assigned their own special duties and responsibilities.  The German philosophy was to have many specialized units and organizations, instead of just a few "do everything" organizations like we find in the US.

This style of helmet was first made in 1973 and production, and use, continued into the 1990's.  The helmets were based on the old 1945 Wehrmacht "Thale B/II" helmet that was designed at the end of WW2, but never issued due to the abrupt ending of the war.  This helmet also is VERY similar to the standard East German Army helmet!  The similarity in appearance to the East German helmets  made this a very unpopular helmet in West Germany.

Two East German Soldiers in their East German combat helmets.

Officially this helmet was called the "Type ZS" helmet.  ZS stands for Zivilschutz, or Civil Defense.
These helmets were worn by the THW, Red Cross, the various Civil Defense units (ZS), Volunteer Fire Service, etc.  It was a "do everything" helmet!  
The helmet is constructed of plastic, and is designed to mount a headlamp. The helmet includes a molded-in front mount with a rear cord-routing clip for the light.

Inside the helmet, there are tabs used to mount the leather or reflective neck protector.  

There are also slots on the front-interior for mounting a wire mesh face shield that was designed as a "heat deflector" for firefighting. (The "heat deflector" screen was quickly abandoned as it was not effective).

The liner is adjustable from size 53-61 cm, and is marked in both metric and US sizing.  The chinstrap is equipped with a "break-away" wire latch, and is rigged like the metal fire service, and paratroop helmets.

This particular helmet is marked as made by Schuberth, and is dated 1998 (if I read the molding circle-stamp correctly). 

It is stamped with the name of the helmet as well:  "Type ZS".  There are also a few hand marked numbers, but the helmet appears to be unused (not surprising as these helmets were so unpopular!).

Here are a couple of shots of the helmet being worn (by "yours truly" again!)

Here are a few detail shots of one of the headlamp types that were  used on this helmet.  This lamp is missing the sliding U-handle, but otherwise is complete.  When worn with the helmet, the light's battery pack-base would be clipped to the belt.  On the front of the light, there are slots so different colored filters can be installed or a light-visor.

And now let's take a closer look at this unique West German helmet.  Here's the photo album:

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Swedish Fire Fighter's Helmet, circa 1960, Brissman, Halmstad Sweden, Brissmans Brandredskap

Today we'll be taking a look at a fairly rare fire fighter's helmet (at least here in the US).  This helmet is a very early model , fiberglass helmet, made by the Swedish fire equipment and helmet manufacturer, Brissman.

The helmet I have shows it's age, from storage, but does not appear to have been used, or was used very little.  It does not have any department decals or numbers and shows no damage.  I wish I knew how it found it's way to the USA, but I am afraid I will probably never know (it came to me via a VERY odd listing on eBay............)  When I received this helmet, it had been spray painted on the outside, with black paint.  It was a terrible paint job with many sags and runs.  A bit of careful stripping using acetone thinner and a rag, and I was left with the original white fiberglass finish.

This helmet was made by Brissman, of Halmstad Sweden.  

The Brissman company started up in the 1920's after a local fire chief, Fritz Brissman, realized that there were not very many options for quality fire fighting equipment in Sweden.  He decided that he would start his own company and produce high quality helmets and other fire equipment.  His signature product was the classic Swedish fire helmet.  Originally this helmet was made in aluminum, roughly based on the German fire helmets of the era.  In 1960,  Brissman's switched their production from aluminum to polyester fiberglass. 
Here is a link to another collector who has quite a few examples of these old Brissman helmets, both in metal, and fiberglass:


As a comparison, here is a link to my blog page showing the German version of this helmet:


It appears that none of the old Swedish helmets were dated, but based on the liner construction of my helmet, it appears to be one of the early fiberglass production helmets.  
The liner is made of leather, and is adjustable by changing the overlapping area of the rear headband. 

The adjustment is secured with a "shoestring tie".  The liner and chin strap are attached with "paperclip" rivets, that are very similar to the old German steel helmets.  

The outer, exposed portion of the rivet is protected and insulated with a plastic cap.  

There is a fitted foam pad that fills the crown of the helmet, under the liner.

I find it quite interesting that these Brissman helmets are nearly identical in shape as the old Model 1936, Bulgarian steel military helmets......coincidence, or influence.......who knows!  
Here is a link to my blog page about my old Bulgarian Model 1936:


These Brissman helmets are still made, and used, in Sweden, with only minor changes to the liner and chin strap!  I must say that these "old helmets" are very comfortable to wear!  (modeled by "yours truly!")

Here are a few shots of these Brissman helmets in current use in Sweden:

I am still undecided as to whether I will leave this helmet "as-found" or obtain a Swedish fire service, front decal and side numbers, so I can display it as a "seasoned veteran replica".  I hope to contact a few of the fire departments in Sweden to see if they can help me out with the correct emblems.  

Now let's take a look at this beautiful old piece of Swedish, fire fighting history!

I believe this stamping on the liner indicates "Shell Size 2" & head sizes 56-59 cm.