The History of Vintage Flying Helmets
Several years ago, I wrote a book about early flying headgear. My motivation was largely (and unashamedly) selfish: I had begun acquiring flying helmets, goggles and oxygen masks, and wanted to learn and document as much information as I possibly could about them. At that time, there were two references of note and I eagerly devoured both: Jim Weld's "Flying Headgear of the World" which, I am quite certain, launched many collections besides my own; and "Flying Clothing: the Story of its Development" by Anthony Harold and Louise Greer, a more comprehensive history which nonetheless left at least one reader hungry for more!
I took detailed photographs and made copious notes on every flying helmet I could lay my hands on, starting with my own collection and those of other collectors I met along the way. With the help and support of these fellow collectors, museums, historians and official record keepers all over the world, as well as surviving veterans, I was eventually able to complete "Vintage Flying Helmets".
Over the years, my collection and my interests grew to include life vests, gloves, boots, escape and survival equipment. I was particularly intrigued by the similarity – and the contrast – between the styles and technology of the nations involved in WWII, which resulted in a two volume set "Luftwaffe vs. RAF" which compared the flying clothing and equipment of the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe. I am currently working on a similar study of Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm and US Navy / Marine Corps flying kit.
Some people have generously called me an "expert" on flying clothing and equipment, although I prefer to think of myself as an "opinionated enthusiast" who has been fortunate to handle a lot of material over the years!
My collecting interests continue to expand, and now include uniforms, flying log books, photo albums and even non-aviation historic items such as English Civil War armour and antique weaponry. I also keep a small representative collection of artifacts and documents from the era of the Napoleonic and American Revolutionary Wars.
I am passionate about history and enjoy researching items.
I am not a "dealer" and do not sell collectibles to make a living (although I have a great respect and admiration for those who do). However, I cannot keep every item I acquire, for the simple reason I do not have the space – nor the unlimited resources. Therefore, from time to time, items are offered for sale to private collectors via this website. Serious collectors are also invited to use this website as a portal for showcasing items which they may have for sale (no dealers please – you have your own websites!).
If you would like to receive notification whenever new items are added to the site, or you are looking for something specific – or have an item or collection which you think may be of interest to others, please send me an email and let's discuss.
If you would like a personalized, author signed copy of any of my books, please email me.