West Sea Company

10. Diving & Submarines

Prices in U.S. Dollars are in GREEN.



10.89  AMERICAN DIVING HELMET.  Genuine hard hat diving helmet made by America's first and foremost maker, "MORSE DIVING EUIPMENT COMPANY, INC, BOSTON, MASS. U.S.A." as embossed on the oval maker's tag riveted to the breastplate.  This all copper and brass helmet is Morse's innovative shallow water version used extensively by the U.S. Navy and the commercial fleet for ships' hull inspections, and underwater pier and bridge work.  It did not require the diver to use the bulky canvas dress needed for diving with a Mark V.  This helmet is serial numbered "62-79" as stamped on the faceplate indicating at date of 1962.  It is in good overall condition showing extensive signs of actual use.  The revolutionary contoured faceplate is near prefect (a very important condition factor in these helmets).  Complete with all 4 original lug nuts.  3475  Special Packaging

See Leon Lyons, "Helmets of the Deep" for further information on this scarce diving helmet. 


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10.88  HARD HAT DIVER's PATCH.   Extremely rare, early 1900's cloth label bearing the trademark of the first and most famous deep sea diving helmet makers "SIEBE GORMAN & CO, LTD."  This cotton cloth patch depicts a 6 bolt helmet flanked by the words 'DIVER BRAND.'  It measures 2 by 2 ¾ inches and is in excellent condition.  A super scarce, beautifully preserved relic from the early days of hard hat diving.  95


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10.86 DEEP SEA DIVING HELMET.  Authentic early 1900's hard hat diving helmet of Oriental manufacture.  This genuine diving helmet is made of spun copper with cast brass fittings.  It is the 3 light type having a screw-on face plate and side ports with protective grills.  This 12 bolt helmet is complete with all four chest plate brales and wing nuts.  The single air supply gooseneck is equipped with a built-in non-return valve leading to 2 interior air vents to provide anti-fogging dry air over the ports.  It has an internal chin button on the diver's right which discharges air to the knurled exhaust valve on the exterior.  Exemplary of its early construction the bonnet was made in two parts which were then brazed together.  This indicates it was made before advancements in metal spinning allowed one-piece fabrication.  Attesting to its active service life this helmet has numerous dents, dings and solder repairs expected of an old veteran of the sea.  It has acquired a deep rich age patina.  16 inches high by 14 inches wide by 16 inches front to back and weighing 40 pounds.  Circa 1920 or earlier.  A great look!  1950 Special Packaging

Currently a nearly identical diving helmet is offered on eBay for $5,023.56.  Item number 124888804622



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10.83  MARK V TOOL.  Scarce, authentic World War II or earlier American-made tool used by a tender to assist a diver in donning his dress.  This "cuff stretcher" was made by "Schrader U.S.A." as stamped in the handle.  It consists of a handsome solid brass goose neck with flared spade, much like a shoe horn, designed to stretch the tight and bulky canvas/rubber sleeves of a hard hat diving suit.  The wooden handle is lovely turned rosewood.   6 ½ inches long by 2 3/8 inches wide on the spade.  Very heavy duty and in perfect condition! 195



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10.78   FAMOUS DIVING PHOTOS.  Set of 3 original silverplate photographs depicting hard hat diver William Walker in full dress ready to descend into the murky depths surrounding the foundation of Winchester Cathedral circa 1910 or earlier.  These antique images are original photographic prints for half penny post cards measuring 3 ½ by 5 ½ inches.  Perfect original condition.   A very rare set of images documenting a most important moment in diving history. 150/trio

 At the turn-of-the-last century when large cracks were noted in the foundation of Winchester Cathedral, fears were it was in imminent danger of collapsing. Winchester lies in the Itchen River Valley, resting on peaty soil with a high water table.  Early efforts to underpin its waterlogged foundations failed.  The cracks, which appeared in the Cathedral's massive walls and vaulted ceilings, were wide enough to accommodate roosting owls!  Chunks of stone were falling to the floor on its east end.                                                                                                                       

As a last resort an architect was brought in for consultation.  He suggested underpinning the building's medieval south and east walls with modern foundations.  The plan was to dig narrow trenches underneath the walls of the building and fill them with concrete 13 feet below the water table.  At its inception, the plan seemed untenable.  Water flooded into the trenches as fast as the workmen could dig it out.  Even a steam pump couldn't overtake the incoming water.                                                                                 

Finally a plan was devised to employ a deep sea diver to do the work.  William Walker, an experienced diver from the Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, was called in.  Beginning in1906, he labored under the water below the Cathedral for six hours a day at depths up to 20 feet.  Working in total darkness, he used his bare hands to feel his way through the muddy water.  His cumbersome canvas diving suit took a long time to don and remove.  So when he stopped for lunch, he simply removed his helmet to eat and smoke his pipe -- which he thought would kill off germs.  It took six years to excavate the flooded trenches and fill them with bags of concrete.  When he finally finished, the groundwater was pumped out and the new concrete walls were safely underpinned by layers of bricks.                                                                                                                               

By 1911, the team of 150 workmen, including Walker, packed the foundations with an estimated 25,000 bags of concrete, 115,000 concrete blocks, and 900,000 bricks!

In honor of his service Walker was presented to George V and Queen Mary on July 15, 1912.  He was later made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO).  Sadly, at the age of just 49 he died as a result of the great Spanish flu epidemic in 1918.


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10.77  HARD HAT DIVING CHEST VALVE.  Genuine, heavy duty World War II vintage, solid bronze air inlet valve used by hard hat divers to regulate the amount of incoming air they received.  Such apparatus was crucial to stabilize both the diver's breathing and his buoyancy.  This heavy, precision-cast bronze relic consists of a 5-pointed handle leading to a gooseneck which connects to the surface airline hose.  The opposite end was connected by a short length of hose to the helmet inlet air gooseneck itself.  The original all brass clip for attachment to the helmet is still present.  7 3/4 inches long by 6 ¼ inches high and 2 ¾ inches thick at the widest.  Perfect original condition exhibiting a wonderful statuary bronze patina surface.  This component is an essential key element when exhibiting a full dress diving helmet known as a "Jake."  Cheap price!   495


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10.59  MARK V DIVING PLAQUE.  Authentic Vietnam War era unit plaque for "HARBOR CLEARANCE UNIT ONE" as emblazoned in a banner at the top.  This handsome commemorative depicts a detailed representation of a U.S. Navy Mark V diving helmet as its central theme.  Behind it are a crossed sword, trident and a large anchor.  The better part of entire plaque is encircled by an anchor chain border.  This plaque was no doubt meticulously hand-painted by one of the unit's crewmen divers.  It is mounted on a large, rich solid mahogany "shield" backboard.  The plaque itself measures 7 ¼ inches wide by 8 inches high.  The mahogany mount is 10 ¾ inches wide by 12 ¾ inches high.  Outstanding original condition!  U.S. Navy plaques with the deep sea diving theme are rare.  195

Harbor Clearance Unit One, a United States Navy unit, was commissioned in February 1966 with the mission "To provide salvage repair, diving and rescue services in rivers and restricted waters and to conduct harbor and river clearance operations in the Western Pacific."  It was also to provide rapidly deployable diving and salvage teams in direct support of the Vietnam War. The concept was proven so effective that the command was moved to continuous salvage service at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, near the end of the Vietnam War.



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5.81/10.74  IMPORTANT WWII SUBMARINE PLAQUE.  Original commemorative plaque from the famous U.S. Navy diesel submarine USS BLACKFIN (SS-322).   This handsome historic plaque is cast in high relief from solid brass which has acquired a rich statuary bronze age patina.  Charmingly, it depicts a 19th century "copper" (policeman) in uniform twirling a torpedo as if it was a nightstick.  The top of the plaque displays the submarine service emblem of dolphins flanking a submarine with "USS BLACKFIN" in high relief.  The plaque is mounted to a lovely, very rich, solid African mahogany backing in traditional shield form.  It measures 11 by 13 ½ inches.  The plaque itself is 7 ¼ high by 5 5/8 inhe4s wide.  Outstanding original condition.  This is a museum piece.  295

USS BLACKFIN (SS-322), a BALAO-class submarine, was the first ship of the U.S. Navy to be named for a fish from the Great Lakes.   She was launched on March 12, 1944 by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut and was commissioned on July 4th, 1944, Lieutenant Commander George Hays Laird, Jr., in command.

BLACKFIN arrived at Pearl Harbor on September 11, 1944.  During her war operations from September 30th to September 5t th1945 she completed five war patrols.  Her operating areas included the South China and Yellow Seas.  BLACKFIN sank the Japanese destroyer SHIGURE on January 24, 1945 and a Japanese cargo ship of 4,325 tons.

During her fifth war patrol World War II came to an end, but not before she occupied a Japanese lifeguard station and destroyed 61 floating mines.  Thereafter she sailed to Apra Harbor, Guam, on September 5, 1945.  After receiving voyage repairs and fuel she proceeded to San Diego where she joined Submarine Squadron 1.   She operated with Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet, based out of San Diego until March 8, 1954 and thereafter from Pearl Harbor.  During this time she completed two tours in the Far East from December 1951 – June 1952 and January – June 1955.

During her career, BLACKFIN was used in two famous movies: 1963 "Move Over Darling" with Doris Day, and James Garner; then in 1968 "Ice Station Zebra" with Rock Hudson and Ernest Borgnine.

The long-lived BLACKFIN was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Record on September 15, 1972.  But even then her usefulness continued as a target to be sunk by a torpedo in the "SubSinkEx Project Thurber" project off San Diego, California on May 13, 1973.  Her partial sinking was deliberately used to acquire acoustic data on submarine implosions.

BLACKFIN received three battle stars for her World War II service.


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10.63  U.S NAVY MARK V.   This is it!  The ultimate!  Offered here is the very sought after, and by far most collected hard hat diving helmet ever -- an authentic World War II era U.S. Navy Mark V.  The maker’s breastplate tag is of brass cast in high relief reading:


UNITED STATES NAVY
DIVING HELMET
MARK V   MOD.-1
SERIAL NO. 2XXX* DATE OF MFG. 6-43
A.SCHRADER’S SON DIVISION
SCOVILL MANUFACTURING COMPANY
INCORPORATED
BROOKLYN, N.Y. U.S.A.

This helmet is made of heavy spun copper with cast brass fittings and thick glass ports.   Speaking to its actual wartime use in the United States Navy, the phone box bears the U.S. inspector’s marked of an anchor flanked by the letters “U S.”  The interior is tinned and the bonnet has air channels leading from the air intake goose neck over the three ports. The phone communicator gooseneck contains its original components with cap and the original speaker marked “REPRODUCER” is in place.  The chin button is present and functions properly. On the exterior, all fittings are original and in tact.   Each of the four brales is marked “FRONT” and “BACK” respectively.  The rear dumbbell lock with cotter pin and chain is present and functional.  Also present is the non-return valve on the air inlet gooseneck.  Not only is it marked “SCHRADER” it also bears the Navy inspector’s mark!   The entire unit, weighing 55 pounds, is in excellent condition.  There are of course the expected minor dents and dings in the top of the bonnet from actual diving!  Complete with a fabulous custom-made wooden stand which has heavy brass Mark V plaques cast from the originals of the diving locker on board a submarine rescue ship (ASR) when  deployed in Italy.   SOLD

This helmet comes from the collection of a U.S. Navy Master Chief diver.

*  For the privacy and security of the ultimate purchaser, the serial number of this helmet is being withheld.



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10.61  RARE MILLER-DUNN STYLE 2.   Authentic original example of an early 1930’s vintage shallow water diving helmet used by the U.S. Navy for harbor work and underwater hull inspections.  This helmet was the forerunner to the company’s later Style 3 which was used in World War II.  The classic design is reminiscent of a Medieval knight’s helmet and is why it’s so sought after by collectors for its very unusual presentation!  This sturdy old hard hat helmet is made of thick rolled sheet copper with cast brass fittings.  The face plate is heavy cast bronze holding two panes of adjacent safety glass at obtuse angles.  This was to give the diver a wider field of view than its predecessor, the Style 1 which had a single small port.  To protect these bigger glass panels, two heavy brass guards run over each pane.  The front and back breastplates contain raised copper slots designed to hold lead weights.  Without the weights the helmet is 27 pounds and with them it would weigh about 60 pounds.  On the diver’s right side is the downward facing threaded brass gooseneck which was the source of air.  It is faced on the inside by a copper diffuser which blew air over the glass panels for defogging.   For ease of transport, a cast brass handle is riveted to the top.  The brass maker’s tag affixed to the helmet (diver’s right) reads, “DIVINHOOD Style 2 – Navy Standard – U.S. and Foreign Patents MILLER-DUNN CO. Miami, Fla.”  This strange looking helmet is in fantastic cosmetic condition, with a high polish and a few small dents from actual service.   SOLD

The now legendary Miller-Dunn Company of Miami is shrouded in a good deal of mystery, even though it is well documented that the company produced hard hat diving helmets for more than 30 years.  Begun in 1915 as a partnership between a plumber and machinist the company was best known for its shallow water "Divinhood" designs which were patented in the United States and abroad.  In his monumental reference book "Helmets of the Deep" by Leon Lyons, 1988, Leon Lyons, Hollywood, Florida, Mr. Lyons writes on page 133, "The number two and 3 styles are most popular among collectors of nautical antiques. They have such a strange look about them.”

In 1916 Miller-Dunn produced their first diving helmet, the Style 1, which looked much like a hot water heater with a porthole in front.  Around 1927 the Style 2 was introduced.   Its construction was similar to its earlier cousin, the major difference being the faceplate which was expanded to 2 adjacent glass panels set in a heavy cast bronze frame protected by stout horizontal brass guards.


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10.05  IMPORTANT DIVING REFERENCE BOOK.  Sir Robert H. Davis, “Deep Diving and Submarine Operations, Part I & II,” Sixth Edition 1955, Siebe Gorman & Co., Great Britain.  Hard cover, 695 pages exclusive of index and fold-out map.  Certainly the “bible” of early diving technology and innovation.  In the first half of the 1900’s Mr. Davis was the chairman of the famous pioneer diving equipment manufacturing company established by its founder Augustus Siebe in 1819.  This 6th edition is the embodiment of knowledge garnered from the earliest deep sea operations well into the experiences of World War II.  Contained in 20 chapters and 7 Appendices, it is a thorough treatment of the subject.  Some of the topics covered are:  Physics and physiology, Dressing the diver, Helium and oxygen in deep diving, Diving bells, Armoured diving apparatus, Underwater tools, Escape form sunken submarines, Underwater warfare, Diving for treasure, Salvage of sunken ships, Divers’ yarns and adventures, and a most fascinating Illustrated history of Diving.  The Appendices include topics on Maximum depths, Submarine escape, Underwater television, and the Greatest ocean descent, among others.  The cloth cover is lifted on the front, no doubt from exposure to the marine environment in which it was actually used.   However the hard cover itself is sound and intact.  Importantly the entire content is in very fine, very presentable condition.  195



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10.56 EARLY DIVING/SALVAGE PHOTOGRAPH. Very scarce albumen photograph of the refloating of the steam/sail ship CITY of ATLANTA in 1893. It is identified in the artist’s hand lower right “City of Atlanta pumped out by prop Williams & Chapman” Jany 18-93.” The image shows the 2 masted schooner at dock in the midst of winter with a salvage lighter alongside. Below it is the prominent label reading “Wrecking Heavy Hoisting DIVERS and STEAM PUMPS CHAPMAN DERRICK & WRECKING CO. 70 South Street New York.” It is housed in its original gilt wooden frame under old wavy glass with wooden backing. On the back is an old type-written label indicating information on the vessels involved. The image measures 7 ½ by 9 ½ inches sight. The frame measures 14 by 16 inches. Condition is very good (no damage), but showing its 125 year old age. A quite rare and sought after subject matter spanning several collector categories. 239


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10.49 HARD HAT DIVING PUMP. Genuine World War II era or earlier shallow water diving pump made by the “Miller-Dunn Co. Miami Fla.” as cast in relief on the tops of the twin cylinders. This heavy duty pump is MD’s “No. 1A” model as so identified on the tops. It consists of a cast iron rocking beam attached to brass rods activating dual pistons with leather washers contained within the brass cylinders. Valves on each cylinder direct air to an outlet via a hard rubber hose which connected to the diver’s air line. The cylinders pivot on their bases as the rocking beam works in a reciprocal motion to and fro. The heavy cast iron base is attached to a thick solid mahogany slab mount. A simple metal handle would have been used to operate the rocking beam, which has a slot and set nut to accommodate same. This very handsome presentation measures 15 inches long by 7 inches wide on the base, 16 ½ inches high and weighs 30 pounds. Beautifully restored cosmetic condition, and it still pumps! The nicest of several we have ever offered in 4 decades. 895 Special Packaging

The now legendary Miller-Dunn Company of Miami is shrouded in a good deal of mystery, even though it is documented that the company produced hard hat diving helmets over the course of more than 30 years. Begun in 1915 as a partnership between a plumber and machinist the company was best known for its shallow water "Divinhood" designs which were patented in the United States and abroad. In his monumental reference book "Helmets of the Deep" by Leon Lyons, 1988, Leon Lyons, Hollywood, Florida, Mr. Lyons writes on page 133, "The number two and 3 styles are most popular among collectors of nautical antiques. They have such a strange look about them.” The Miller-Dunn 1A pump was designed for use with both of those rare helmets.



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10.47  AMERICAN HARD HAT DIVING HELMET.   This is the classic World War II era and earlier vintage U.S. Navy shallow water diving helmet produced by the rather unconventional manufactory of Miller-Dunn Company.  The embossed rectangular brass maker’s tag on the right side of the helmet reads, “DIVINHOOD STYLE  3  – NAVY STANDARD –  U.S. and Foreign Patents, MILLER-DUNN CO.,  MIAMI, FLA.”  This shallow water helmet is Miller-Dunn’s final model, representing the culmination of their shallow water helmet output since the very early 1900’s.  It consists of a hand-formed bonnet of pure copper with brass fittings.   This impressive pre-SCUBA diving relic is in superb authentic condition.  The glass ports are original and retain their original litharge and red lead seals.  Both the original front and rear lead weights are present, complete with their original brass wing nuts and fasteners.  As configured this presentation weighs a massive 56 pounds!  25 inches tall by 12 ¾ inches wide at the shoulder and 13 ¼ inches front to back.  Unpolished, unaltered, as last dived.  Without a doubt one of the finest American hard hat diving helmets available anywhere. SOLD

The now legendary Miller-Dunn Company of Miami is shrouded in a good deal of mystery, even though it is documented that the company produced hard hat diving helmets over the course of more than 30 years. Begun in 1915 as a partnership between a plumber and machinist the company was best known for its shallow water "Divinhood" designs which were patented in the United States and abroad. In his monumental reference book "Helmets of the Deep" by Leon Lyons, 1988, Leon Lyons, Hollywood, Florida, Mr. Lyons writes on page 133, "The number two and 3 styles are most popular among collectors of nautical antiques. They have such a strange look about them.”


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10.45   U.S.  NAVY MARK V.   A collector’s dream… the ultimate!  By far the most collected hard hat diving helmet of all time.  Offered here is an original authentic World War II  U.S. Navy Mark V dating from the latter days of the War!  It is a particularly handsome example in  exceptional condition.  The oval brass maker's tag riveted to the front of the breastplate reads:

U.S. NAVY DIVING HELMET
MARK V – MOD. 1
DIVING EQUIPMENT AND SALVAGE  CO. INC
MILWAUKEE, WIS.
29XX  U Ψ S
DATE 6  6  45

It is made of heavy spun copper with cast brass fittings and thick glass ports.  Complete with its 4-prong external exhaust valve mounted in the banana diffuser, faced on the inside by the spring-loaded chin button.  On the diver’s left, above the functional spitcock is the mounting plate for a sacrificial zinc.  The interior retains its original tinning in good condition. The air inlet gooseneck is complete with its functional non-return valve marked “DESCO MILWAUKEE WIS” which is stamped with the U.S. Navy’s inspector mark.  Air channels from the air intake goose neck lead to all three ports.  The phone gooseneck is complete with a portion of its original wiring and the original brass packing gland.  It has all 4 original brales marked "FRONT" and "BACK" respectively, retaining their seldom-found “pinch plates” at the junction of each brale.  All lug nuts are original and the breastplate retains the longer “bastard stud” on the diver’s front left for attachment to an air control chest valve and whip.  The entire unit weighs over 55 pounds and is in excellent, really handsome condition.  There are a few minor dents and dings in the top of the bonnet.  This is a working helmet 75 years old, and these are desirable evidence of age and actual use!  The fact that this helmet bears the U.S Navy’s inspector’s mark in 2 places indicates it was actually used in military service during the Second World War!  If only it could talk!  As an added bonus, it comes complete with a very high quality custom-made hardwood display stand.  This is the best!  SOLD


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10.43  RARE HELI-OX DEEP WATER MARK V HELMET.   Truly the ultimate in hard hat diving, this extremely rare and very valuable relic of deep water diving is embodied in the pioneering 1930’s American effort to send divers who were previously limited to the depths of 120 feet  to the unimaginable depths of nearly 1000 feet!  This Mark V has the typical hinged face plate and 3 light construction, with phone communicator box and exhaust valve in the standard positions.  The zinc anode mounting plate is in the usual position.  The breastplate is the Mark V type 12 bolt pattern with front eyelets.  The oblong maker’s tag cast in lead reads:


UNITED STATES NAVY
DIVING HELMET
MARK V   MOD-1
SERIAL NO.  XXXX*  DATE OF MFG 8/61
MORSE DIVING EQUIPMENT CO., INC.
BOSTON, MASS. U.S.A.

But there the similarities end.  This helmet has no spitcock.  The dumb bell lock between the bonnet and breastplate is forward on the diver’s left.  The neck ring numbers, tag number, and all brale numbers match.  There are a total of 4 goosenecks leading into the bonnet.  Two huge connections attach the massive brass mixing canister at the rear of the helmet.  Mounted to the goose neck on the diver’s right is the helium inlet which connects to the airline whip.  The whip leads to the chest valve mounted to the front of the breastplate.  This combination Helium/Oxygen line, known as the “Heli-OX” is very rare in its own right.  Two more goose necks house the telephone communication system leading to the transducer which would have been mounted within the phone box receptacle.  A fifth fitting is the bubble diffuser extending up the right side (diver’s) of the helmet from the exhaust valve.  The crowning touch, quite literally is the heavy brass eyelet on the top of the bonnet.  This was used in conjunction with a crane to lower and retrieve the heavily burdened diver in the water!  The entire assembly measures 28 inches tall by 19 inches wide by 22 inches deep and weighs close to 100 pounds!  Overall condition is excellent with signs of obvious use but no abuse.  Traces of the original tinning exist on all surfaces.  The remainder bear a nice patinated copper appearance.  The interior air vents are all in place and the entire interior is tinned.  The chin button, exhaust valve and chest valve all function properly.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire such an impressive representative of cutting edge American diving history! SOLD

*  For the privacy and security of the ultimate buyer this number is being withheld.



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10.36  MARK V DIVING HELMET.  This is it!  The most sought after hard hat diving helmet ever made -- the U.S. Navy Mark V.  Here is an especially nice original example with a thick cast brass maker’s tag affixed to the front of the breastplate.  It reads:

UNITED STATES NAVY
DIVING HELMET
MARK V No.             XXX*
MANUFACTURED BY
SCHRADER’S SON DIV.
MOD No 1    MARCH 1942
BROOKLYN NY.

The classic construction is of spun copper with cast brass fittings.  The round phone box is stamped with the U.S. Navy inspector’s mark, as is the non-return valve attached to the air inlet gooseneck.  The valve is also marked "SCHRADER.”  The phone box is stamped with the number XXXX* which matches the neck ring and brale numbers.  On the inside the phone box holds the original transducer which is signed ““REPRODUCER” Audio Equipment Co, Inc. Great Neck, N.Y.”  The phone gooseneck has its original cover with retaining chain.  The helmet interior contains the original channels which directed incoming air over the ports for anti-fogging.  The entire insides retain their original tinning.  The chin button and spit cock are functional.  Each brale is serial numbered on its underside and on their surface, the rear brales are marked “BACK” and the front brales “FRONT.”  The rear of the helmet has its original dumbbell lock with clip and cotter pin on a chain.  All lug nuts are original.  An exceptionally handsome original Mark V, which due to its early date in World War II, certainly saw wartime service. SOLD

* For the privacy and security of the ultimate purchaser this number is being withheld.


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10.35  MARK V DIVING HELMET.  Here is an original, highly sought after, and by far most collected hard hat diving helmet ever -- an authentic World War II era U.S. Navy Mark V.  This is an early example manufactured by A. Schrader’s Son of New York, the firm which went out of business at war’s end. The front breastplate of this unique looking helmet bears the bears the embossed cast brass oval breastplate maker's tag reading:

UNITED STATES NAVY
DIVING HELMET
MARK V NO. (XXX)*
MANUFACTURED BY
A. SCHRADERS SON, INC.
BROOKLYN, N.Y.

This helmet is made of heavy spun copper with cast brass fittings and thick glass ports. The interior is tinned and the bonnet has air channels leading from the air intake goose neck over the three ports. The phone communicator gooseneck contains its original components with cap and the transducer is present. The chin button and spit cock are in place and function properly.   The exhaust valve is impressed with the “BTE” logo indicating its desirable manufacture by the "Batteryless Manufacturing Company” which produced such components in the 30’s and early 40’s.  On the exterior, all fittings are original and in tact. The neck ring serial numbers of the bonnet and breastplate match, coinciding with the numbers stamped on the underside of each brale. The front two brales bear markings "FRONT" and the rear two brales are marked "BACK" and on the underside each bears the same bonnet and breastplate number.   The entire unit, weighing 55 pounds, is in totally original condition! This old veteran of the sea was obviously well used.  It has several small dents in the bonnet.  The entire surface bears small pock marks from exposure to salt water, and portions of the helmet are covered with a heavy bluish green verdigris.  All of this combines to make this hard hat provide a very unusual and extremely appealing old look. SOLD

*  For the personal privacy of the ultimate buyer, the serial number of this helmet is being withheld.

 

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10.30  EARLY DIVING LITHOGRAPH.  Charming mid-1800’s stone lithograph depicting two hard hat divers with their attendants in a lapstrake dory preparing to dive.  This colorful depiction shows a total of eight French sailors in their small boat moored to a barrel with a large man-o-war in the background.  The colors and contrast of this original chromolithograph are as clear and bright as the day it was printed well over 1oo years ago!  Mounted on foam core measuring 4 ½ by 7 inches.  Perfect.  49

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10.85 HARD HAT DIVING PUMP. Authentic first half of the 1900's American diving pump made by "MORSE DIVING EQUIPMENT CO., INC. BOSTON, MASS. U.S.A." as cast in relief on the body of the pump. On the reverse side is cast the model number "No. 15." This twin cylinder shallow water pump is made of solid bronze mounted to an oak platform. The one-man reciprocating pump is operated by a steel handle with a perpendicular oak grip. As configured it measures 31 1/2 inches long on the oak base and stands approximately 46 1/4 inches high. The pump itself measures 20 1/2 inches long by 8 inches wide on the base. The entire unit weighs 54 pounds! Matching serial numbers on the pump and rocker arm. The genuine quality handle is a faithful replacement. 995 Special Packaging

In the catalog of Andrew J. Morse & Son, Inc. Edition 5M, copyrighted in 1937, page 15 through 17 are devoted to this pump and the shallow water diving helmet associated with it. It is described as, "The No. 15 Pump has two cylinders which are single action, and as shown by the illustration, are made in one bronze casting. The discharge valves and the hose outlet are connected by brass pipe, so arranged that the cylinder heads may be easily removed. The results of tests made show that our Shallow Water Outfit is entirely satisfactory provided the depth of the water does not exceed 36 feet." The price of the pump in 1937 exclusive of additional equipment or fittings was listed at $100.

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10.19


10.19 MARK V DIVING HELMET. This is it! The ultimate! Offered here is an original, very sought after, and by far most collected hard hat diving helmet ever -- an authentic World War II era U.S. Navy Mark V. Even more special, this is an early example manufactured by the venerable Morse Diving Equipment Company of Boston, bearing much of its original tin finish! The front of this handsome helmet bears the embossed cast brass oval breastplate maker's tag reading:

UNITED STATES NAVY DIVING HELMET
MARK V
MORSE DIVING EQUIPMENT CO. INC.
No. XXX*
DATE 8-25-41

This helmet is made of heavy spun copper with cast brass fittings and thick glass ports. The interior is tinned and the bonnet has air channels leading from the air intake goose neck over the three ports. The phone communicator gooseneck contains its original components with cap and the fittings for holding the transducer are present. The chin button and spit cock are in place and function properly. On the exterior, all fittings are original and in tact. The neck ring serial numbers of the bonnet and breastplate match, coinciding with the number stamped on the left rear brale. The front two brales bear markings "FRONT" and the rear two brales are marked "MORSE BOSTON / MADE IN U.S.A." respectively. The entire unit, weighing 55 pounds, is in excellent totally original condition! There are of course the expected minor dents, dings and mild surface corrosion expected of a working helmet! SOLD

In 1837 the partnership of Fletcher and Morse was formed to manufacturer brass goods at the corner of Water and Congress Street in Boston. When Mr. Fletcher retired in 1864, the firm name changed to Andrew J. Morse & Son as makers of "submarine diving apparatus." In 1881 Andrew Morse died and his son, William F. Morse, continued the business under the same name. In 1905 when William retired, ownership of the business was transferred to William's daughter, Elizabeth, and the firm name was changed to Andrew J. Morse & Son, Inc. In 1940 the company name changed yet again to Morse Diving Equipment Co., Inc. of Boston. In 1970, rights to the company were purchased privately and the new firm was moved to Rockland, Massachusetts. In 1998 the company was sold once more with the resultant name of Morse Diving, Inc. at 199 Weymouth Street in Rockland.

Morse was best known for its development of the Mark 5 helmet system for the United States Navy in 1914. Ultimately, 3 other companies: A. Shrader's Son, Diving Equipment & Salvage Company (later "DESCO") and finally Miller-Dunn, also produced Mark V helmets for the Navy throughout World War II. But Morse was the originator.
Morse founder, A.J. Morse, also discovered the carbon dioxide absorbing qualities of soda ash which he developed and marketed under the name "Sodasorb," used both in the diving and the soft drink industries. Besides diving helmets, the Morse company manufactured dive pumps, knives, boots, dresses, fire hoses and a wide range of other hard hat diving apparatus.

* For the privacy and security of the ultimate purchaser, the serial number of this helmet is being withheld.


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10.94

 

10.94 MARK V DIVING HELMET. This is it! The ultimate! Offered here is the very sought after, and by far most collected hard hat diving helmet ever -- an authentic World War II era U.S. Navy Mark V. But even more special, this is a scarce example by the Miller Dunn Company of Miami, was not polished and is in its as "last used" finish! The front of this handsome helmet bears the embossed lead breastplate maker's tag reading:

UNITED STATES NAVY
DIVING HELMET
MARK V MOD. 1
SERIAL NO. XXX* DATE OF MFG.
MILLER-DUNN CO.
MIAMI, FLORIDA

 

 This helmet is made of heavy spun copper with cast brass fittings and thick glass ports. The interior is tinned and the bonnet has air channels leading from the air intake goose neck over the three ports. The phone communicator gooseneck contains its original components with cap and the fittings for holding the transducer are present. The chin button is in place and functions properly. On the exterior, all fittings are original and in tact. Each of the four brales bear serial numbers matching that of the breastplate tag. The entire unit, weighing 50 pounds, is in excellent totally original condition! There are of course the expected minor dents and dings in the top of the bonnet from actual diving!  SOLD

*  For the privacy and security of the ultimate purchaser, the serial number of this helmet is being withheld.


The now legendary Miller-Dunn Company of Miami is shrouded in a good deal of mystery, even though it is documented that the company produced hard hat diving helmets over the course of more than 30 years. Begun in 1915 as a partnership between a plumber and machinist the company was best known for its shallow water "Divinhood" designs which were patented in the United States and abroad. In his monumental reference book "Helmets of the Deep" by Leon Lyons, 1988, Leon Lyons, Hollywood, Florida, Mr. Lyons writes on page 133, "The number two and 3 styles are most popular among collectors of nautical antiques. They have such a strange look about them. One should also mention the Mark V as a much sought-after helmet."
Of the 4 major producers of the Mark V helmet, before and during World War II, Miller-Dunn's output was the smallest. Added to the fact that only a handful of this little known company's helmets now survive, the example offered here is made all the more desirable.

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10.95


10.95  EARLY HARD HAT DIVER’s BOOTS.   Very scarce, early 1900’s diver’s boot with leather uppers and brass fittings.  This original old matched pair has bronze toes with wooden insoles and lead bottoms.  The leather ia in a remarkable state of original preservation.  Of great significance is the fact that the right boot is marked on the bronze toe “ARS 33.”  It is also stamped “R” designating the right boot.  In total this set weighs more that 40 pounds!   In Leon Lyons’ground breaking work, “Helmets of the Deep,” 1988, Leon Lyons, Hollywood, Florida, an identical pair of boots are depicted on page 330 described as “2. American – A. Schraders Son.”  SOLD

USS CLAMP (ARS-33) was a Diver class rescue and salvage ship acquired by the U.S. Navy soon after America entered World War II.  CLAMP was launched October 24, 1942 by the Basalt Rock Co., Napa, California, under a U.S. Maritime Commission contract and was commissioned as a U.S. Navy vessel on  August 23, 1943.

Career (US)
usaflag

Ordered:

as HMS Atlantic Salvor (BARS-3)

Laid down:

3 February 1942

Launched:

24 October 1942

Commissioned:

23 August 1943

Decommissioned:

6 May 1947

Struck:

1 July 1973

Fate:

as of September 2010 in storage at MARAD Suisan Bay RRF.

General characteristics

Displacement:

1,630 tons

Length:

213 ft 6 in (65.07 m)

Beam:

39 ft (12 m)

Draft:

14 ft 4 in (4.37 m)

Propulsion:

diesel-electric, twin screws, 2,780 hp

Speed:

15 knots (28 km/h)

Complement:

120

Armament:

four 40 mm guns, four .50 calmachine guns

Charged with the task of aiding stricken vessels, CLAMP sailed from San Pedro on September 30, 1943.  After a brief period at Pearl Harbor, CLAMP arrived in the Ellice Islands on November 8th. From this base she conducted combat salvage operations supporting the invasion of the Gilbert Islands.

On November 10th CLAMP came under Japanese air attack five different times, but sustained no damage.  She performed salvage operations on LST-34 off Tinian and assisted USS HOEL (DD-533) off of Betio Point on December 2nd.  At Midway CLAMPconducted salvage operations on USS MACAW (ASR-11) from January through February 17, 1944.

Thereafter CLAMP began working in the Marshall Islands into April. She investigated sunken Japanese vessels for salvage value off Saipan in July and in the process captured 10 prisoners. She returned to Pearl Harbor for overhaul in November 1944.

CLAMP arrived at Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945.  She engaged in salvage work during the invasion and capture of that island.  In early March she sailed to Leyte via Saipan, Guam and Ulithi, joining the salvage and repair group which cleared for the March 21st invasion of Okinawa.  From March 31st through April 5th 1944 CLAMP provided emergency assistance to the famous heavy cruiser USS INDIANAPOLIS (CA-35), which had suffered a brutal Kamikaze attack.  Upon completion of that duty,CLAMP steamed to Ie Shima on May 12th to inspect two damaged destroyers.

From late 1944 well into1945 CLAMP underwent overhaul on the West Coast.  On November 5, 1945 she sailed for Pearl Harbor, remaining there until March 6, 1946 when she put out for Bikini Atoll to provide towing, diving, and demolition services in connection with the auspicious Operation Crossroads atomic tests.  CLAMP returned to San Francisco via Pearl Harbor on October 22nd.

On May 6, 1947 USS CLAMP was placed out of commission in reserve at San Pedro, California, and was struck from the Naval Registry on July 1, 1973.  As of February 2008, CLAMP, a heroic war veteran, is now laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet in Suisan Bay, Benicia, California.

USS CLAMP received four battle stars for World War II service.


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10.21 Authentic U.S Navy hard hat Mark V diving helmets for sale in quantity from salvage.



ANSWERS TO AUTHENTICATION QUIZ
IN "FEATURES" ARTICLE

"The U. S. Navy MARK V,
Diving Deep Into Authentication"

The genuine Mark V helmet is on the right.

1. Center and left helmets have been chemically darkened, including all exterior fittings. The copper "bonnets" (shells) of original Mark V's were coated with tin, but ususally the fittings were not tinned.

2. The faceplate wing nut does not seat "within" the grooved faceplate prong of the center and left helmets, as it does on the genuine Mark V.

3. Brale lug nuts are the same on the center and left helmets. On the genuine Mark V, the lug nuts at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions have an enlarged flange to prevent the suit from pinching at the joints.

4. No mounting plate for sacrificial zinc in between the faceplate and left (diver's) port on the center and left helmets.

5. The genuine Mark V has breastplate eyelets, whereas the center and left helmets have breastplate lugs or nipples.

6. The shape of the genuine Mark V breastplate describes a deep arch. The breastplates of the center and left helmets are squared off and not as deep.

7. The breastplate studs on the reproduction Mark V's are riveted to the breastplate. The eyelets on a real Mark V protrude through the breastplate and are soldered on inside, NOT with rivets.

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