West Sea Company

10. Diving & Submarines

Prices in U.S. Dollars are in GREEN.

 




10.52 RARE DEEP SEA UNIT PLAQUE. Solid brass Navy-issued crewman’s plaque for the United States Navy DSV (Deep Submergence Vessel) TURTLE, reading “Search, Locate & Recover.” At the center is center is a charming depiction of a turtle riding the vessel. The turtle is equipped with Navy frogman goggles, aqua lung and swing fins! All are cast in detailed high relief. This heavy presentation measures 5 3/8 inches in diameter and over ½ inch thick. It is mounted to its original wooden shield backboard, nicely enhanced in gloss black. It measures 11 inches high by 8 ¾ inches wide. This is a very scarce and historic relic. 299

TURTLE (DSV-3) was a manned 16 ton deep ocean research submersible operated by the U.S. Navy. She was launched on December 11, 1968, sister to DSV-2 ALVIN of TITANIC fame. Before her retirement in 1998 TURTLE had a depth rating of an amazing 10,000 feet! She carried 3 crewmen -- 2 researchers and a pilot. She now resides on public display in the collection of the Mystic Seaport Museum. With a career spanning 3 decades and crews of 3 men, precious few of these plaques were ever awarded. Compare that with Navy vessels having a similar service life, manned by hundreds, even thousands of crewmen.


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10.51 HARD HAT DIVER’s KNIVES. A fine grouping of genuine, made for actual use, hard hat diver’s knives carried by U.S. Navy and commercial divers wearing Mark V’s and similar helmets during and subsequent to World War II. These heavy duty knives have sharp steel blades on one side and a serrated edge on the other. Each is attached by a threaded brass hilt to a wooden grip with brass pommel. The hilt screws into the tubular bronze sheath with a small drain hole at the tip. The blades measure 7 inches long, and the knives are 13 inches by 2 ½ inches overall. All are in excellent condition without any defects. Some of the blades show the typical spotting expected from actual use in a sea water environment, but there is absolutely no corrosion or rust. These are the real deal. They are NOT reproductions. You cannot find these on eBay for twice the price! Your choice. 389 ea

a. BOMAR Manufacturing Co., Pittsburg, PA. Very clean blade. Complete with heavy duty original leather strap.

b. BOMAR Manufacturing Co., Pittsburg, PA. Polished bronze sheath. Perfect blade.

c. Early Morse Diving Equipment Company, Boston, Mass.

d. Morse Diving Equipment Company, Rockland, Mass. DESCO. Complete with original leather strap. Perfect blade.

Recently an unmarked diver's knife was listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $550.


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10.50 VERY RARE SUBMARINE TORPEDO GAUGE. An unbelievable war relic surviving from World War I in the form of a British submarine torpedo launching gauge identified as coming from the World War I submarine HMS NAUTILUS. This extraordinarily historic relic is heavy solid brass. The face is protected by thick wavey glass. The black dial is calibrated in “LBS PER [] INCH” reading from 0 – 350 in 5 pound increments marked by 10’s. A subsidiary inner dial indicates from 0 – slightly over 150 on a different scale. A large white enameled needle indicates the reading(s). The dial is encircled by a large bright brass ring engraved “IMPULSE PRESSURES.” At the bottom it is marked “40 AND 45 KNOT TORPEDOES.” Then to the left is shows a range, presumably computed in yards, for “SURFACE 800, 1200, 1400, 1600.” All of the dial markings are luminescent and glow in the dark. The pressure inlet is at the bottom. On the back of the gauge it is stamped “10 COMPART NAUTILO” This rare submarine gauge measures 12 inches in diameter by 2 inches thick. The mounting flange is 11 ½ inches across. Excellent cosmetic condition with a highly polished lacquered finish but still exhibiting its age of more than 100 years! An extremely scarce, highly collectible identified early submarine item. 1795

HMS NAUTILUS was a Royal Navy submarine launched on December 16, 1917. Although laid down in March 1913, being the largest submarine in the Royal Navy at the time, she took four years to complete. With a displacement of 1,441 tons surfaced and 2,026 tons submerged an overall length of 258 feet 6 inches, the sub was capable of a speed of 17 knots surfaced and 10 knots submerged. The delay in her completion was due in part to a major design change in the configuration from older type “saddle tanks” to the more modernistic double hull construction. With a compliment of 42 officers and men, her main armaments were 16 – 18 inch torpedoes and a 3 inch deck gun. NAUTILUS spent most of her life with the 1st Submarine Flotilla at Portsmouth, England, first as a depot ship then later as a battery charging boat. She was renamed N1 in June 1917. After the Great War she was decommissioned and ultimately sold for scrap in 1922.

The venerable firm of Dewrance & Co., 158 Great Dover Street, London, was founded by John Dewrance and Joseph Woods in 1835, manufacturing engine and boiler accessories. In 1879 the company was turned over to John Dewrance’s son. In 1912 the company exhibited gauges on a Galloway boiler at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry. In 1937, upon the death of John Dewrance, Jr., the company was sold to Babcock & Wilcox, an American firm noted for producing steam boilers and turbines.


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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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10.48 EARLY AMERICAN DIVING HELMET. Classic hard hat helmet made by the venerable Morse Diving Equipment Company of Boston, the first company in America to manufacture diving apparatus beginning in 1835. The cast brass oval maker’s plate reads:

MORSE
DIVING EQUIPMENT
COMPANY, INC.
BOSTON, MASS. U.S.A.

This heavy duty commercial style helmet is made of thick spun copper with solid brass fittings. It is complete with external exhaust valve, “banana” bubble diffuser and air inlet gooseneck. The screw-on faceplate seats tightly on its leather gasket, as does the neck ring. On the inside the bonnet is lined with air ducts leading to the front and side ports for anti- fogging. The chin button assembly is in place, but missing the button itself. The inside is complete with the original transducer and wiring for communication with the surface. The breastplate is complete with all four brales and original wing nuts. Each brale is stamped with matching serial numbers which correspond to the bonnet and neck ring numbers. The back of the helmet is complete with a spring-loaded retaining pin to keep the breastplate and bonnet aligned. Adding to its handsome appearance and value is the fact that this helmet retains most of its original tinned surfaces which have acquired a deep greenish-gray patina. Height 19 inches, width 16 inches and weighs 50 pounds. An authentic American diving helmet from the first half of the 1900’s with a great old look. 4500 net Special PackagingBack to Top

A custom-made wooden display stand (not shown) is available for an additional $150.


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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. Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top

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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10.46   AMERICAN DIVING HELMET.  Mid-1900’s shallow water hard hat diving helmet produced by the venerable “MORSE DIVING EQUIPMENT COMPANY INC. BOSTON, MASS. U.S.A.” as embossed on the oval brass maker’s tag on the front of the breastplate.  This classic helmet is reminiscent of the early space age during which it was produced.  Looking much like an astronaut’s helmet of the era it is of hand-hammered one piece copper construction with a cast brass frame holding a state-of-the art curved Lexan faceplate.  The top of the frame is stamped 64XX* indicating the helmet was manufactured in 1964.  The rear air supply gooseneck empties into an internal airway which vents incoming air on both sides of the faceplate to prevent fogging.  The top of the bonnet has a heavy duty folding brass handle for convenient carrying.   There is a small brass pad eye on the left side of the helmet for attaching a tending line or to further secure the air hose.  This helmet is complete with both front and back lead breastplate weights and their unique brass securing nuts.  Extra nice original condition throughout, showing actual use but no abuse.  21 ½ inches high by 12 ¾ inches wide and 14 inches front to back, and weighing  an impressive 54 pounds!  During our tenure in this business we have been fortunate  to have handled several such helmets.  This one ranks as the best we have seen.  3495 Special PackagingBack to Top

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


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10.38  HARD HAT DIVING PHOTOGRAPH.  Genuine World War II era black and white photograph (with the telltale greenish tinge) depicting a hard hat diver being readied for descent by his attendants.  This graphic image clearly portrays the difficulties of deep sea diving at that time.  This is an official U.S. Navy photograph, so it can rightfully identified as a diver in U.S. Navy Mark V dress.  A classic image, not a contemporary reprint, in prefect original condition measuring 8 ¾ by 11 ¼ sight.  Perfect original condition.  WAS 69  NOW! 29


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10.44 HARD HAT DIVER’s KNIVES.  Genuine, made for actual use, hard hat diver’s knives carried by U.S. Navy and commercial divers wearing Mark V’s and similar helmets during and subsequent to World War II.  These heavy duty knives have sharp steel blades on one side and a serrated edge on the other.  Each is attached by a threaded brass hilt to a wooden grip with brass pommel.  The hilt screws into the tubular bronze sheath with a small drain hole at the tip.  The blades measures 7 inches long, and the knives are 13 inches by 2 ½ inches overall.  All are in excellent condition without any defects.  Some of the blades show the typical spotting expected from actual use in a sea water environment, but there is absolutely no corrosion or rust.  These are the real deal.  They are NOT reproductions.  You cannot find these on eBay for twice the price!


a.  Unmarked, possibly DESCO.  Complete with original leather strap. SOLD 

b.  Morse Diving Equipment Company, Rockland, Mass.   Complete with original leather strap. SOLD 

c.  Morse Diving Equipment Company, Rockland, Mass.  Perfect blade. SOLD 

d.  Diving Equipment Supply Company, DESCO.  Complete with original leather strap.  Perfect blade. SOLD 

e.  Batteryless Tel. Co. SOLD 

Recently an unmarked diver's knife was listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $550.


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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!   Price Request   Special Packaging

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



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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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10.39  DIVING NOTES.  Original   “U.S. Naval School, Deep Sea Divers,” Revised October 1952, U.S. Naval Gun Factory, Washington, D.C.  Soft cover, 382 pages with removable binding.  This comprehensive publication deals with every aspect of deep sea diving from physiology to equipment and techniques.  Some of the topics include:  “Accidents, Air Supply, Decompression, Diver Dress, Explosives, Gauges, Physics, Qualifications Rescue Chamber, Salvage, Seamanship, Self-Contained Apparatus Submarine Rescue & Salvage, Diving Tenders, Welding” and a host of others.  Very well illustrated, particular with line drawings and detailed diagrams.  This was the primer for all candidates aspiring to be U.S. Navy divers.  Large format, 8 by 10 ½ inches and 1 inch thick.  One small loss to back cover (repaired), otherwise excellent original condition throughout.   Rare!  250



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10.40  U.S. NAVY DIVING MANUAL.  Original NavShips publication 250-538 containing Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the “U.S. Navy Diving Manual” September 1958, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.  Containing approximately 420 pages in semi-hard cover with binding.  Part I, 249 pages, is entitled the “General Principles of Diving” including Underwater Physics, Physiology, Basic Diving Procedures, Diving Tables, Diving Hazards, and Technical Information among others.  It is “loaded” with tables and illustrations. Part 2, 99 pages, is entitled “Surface-Supplied Diving” including Standard Equipment, Diving Communications, Air Supply, Boats and Floats, Diving Procedures, etc.”  Again profusely illustrated.  Part 3, 72 pages, is entitled “Self - Contained Diving.”  It deals with rebreathers and S.C.U.B.A., the equipment and procedures in use.  In short this book has it all.  Essentially the “Bible” of U.S. Navy diving at its time.   Large format, 8 ½ by 11 inches and 1 ¼ inches thick.  Excellent original condition.   Very scarce!  295


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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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10.34 DIVING POST CARDS. Set of 3 first half of the 1900's postcards extolling the hard hat diving industry in southern Florida during that period. All 3 are pristine, unmarked and in perfect original condition, preserved in plastic sleeves. 19

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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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10.11   SOVIET SUBMARINES PHOTO.  Original mid-1900’s or earlier photograph of a Soviet submarine tender at berth alongside a pier with 7 diesel submarines nested on its outboard side.  This original black and white photo shows in good detail shipping and dockside activity, including 3 ship’s boats on deck and one in the water next to the starboard bow.  3 ¼ by 5 inches.  This photo exhibits a “serrated” edge popular in such post card size photos from the 1930’s into the 1950’s.  Excellent condition.  Rare subject matter.  10

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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 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 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  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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