Here after much digging I found an ad from the 1960's that sells the german helmets as "Surfer Helmets" I also found a pic of on of my Uncles hand painted Ed "big Daddy" Roth helmets
Well that has answered my question, and then some.
I would like to thank everyone for their replies.
Was it also a trend with British and American helmets?
I wonder if there is there any way of removing the Chrome w/o harming the helmet?
wow that is just awfull... What a sad way to ruin such an amazing artifact
Why dont you try melting it off with a blow torch or something? It cant do anymore damage then what is already done. - Nick K
Melting will not work,there are a few methods which people claim work but ive never had to do it, one method suggested is sandblasting, the other is acid, sulphuric , but i would imagine the acid would eat into the helmet as much as the chrome, another is electrolysis , how this works i have no idea
An alkaline solution used in conjunction with electrolysis will remove the chrome. Most platers should be happy to do this as I understand they can recover the chromium from the resulting solution which they can reuse as chromium as very expensive. I've only been told about the chrome re-use thing so don't quote me on that but assuming it's true and there is some value in this for the plater perhaps they might do this for free or at a discount for you.