War Year Helmet Questions


Well-known member
Apr 23, 2018
When the job switched from the older type helmet,( pre-chinstrap) the company number insert fit very well into the frontpiece. When the job switched over to the newer type lid as described above with impact liner, the company number insert did not fit right. You had to trim down the insert in order to make it fit properly into the frontpiece. Many members just tacked on the insert without taking the time to trim it to the correct size and the insert looked like it was just slapped onto the frontpiece. (Years ago, the company insert was held in by small brass screws, then to the cotter pin).


Well-known member
Jun 22, 2007
68jk09 said:
The original Cairns Custom Helmet Fitting Device.....  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReS5A40-zEQ

Certainly a very interesting story on the history of a custom fit leather helmet. I never realized it was so involved.

Interesting to also learn that in order to make sure that the custom fit helmet stayed on, probie firefighters would be required to hang upside down from a "scaling ladder", sometimes referred to as "the scary ladder".

As I remember when many places were going from the Leather Helmets to the Plastic Helmets, I wore a tee shirt on the front with a photo of a fire helmet and the words; "Leather Forever". 

Thanks Chief for that very interesting video. 


New member
Aug 21, 2020
1. I've noticed on many helmets for the War Years there is a square white sticker with a blue star of life on it. Was there a guideline for their issue and wear?

2. I've seen other departments like Boston use buttons to screw their fronts on, but not to much in FDNY except perhaps in this Michael Dick photo of Battalion Chief Kleehaus (pictured as Squad 41, Lieutenant) Also, I'm not to familiar with the make and model of his helmet, if anyone knows, please share.)

3. If anyone wants to add something or share their own pictures, that would be greatly appreciated.
War years helmets were made by Karin’s Brothers they were leather in custom fitted to the employees head