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History Of Diving Helmets

October 29th, 2010

Copper Divers Helmet

The diving helmet which is worn by professional divers is incredibly adaptable for use in extreme circumstances. The diver’s helmet completely secures the head of the diver and allows for extensive voice communication with the operation team above water, and even with other divers. If anything were to occur to the diver when below water, such as being knocked unconscious, then the diving helmet will continue to pump air to the diver until he reawakens. This is very different from standard scuba gear which has to be knowingly held in the mouth. So if a scuba diver becomes unconscious, he or she will most likely drown due to the oxygen connection being cut off.

In the beginning, deep sea diving helmets were available with two to four bolts. The Kirby Morgan Superlite-17 designed in 1975 is a very noteworthy commercial diving helmet that is built with a fiberglass shell and chrome-plated brass fittings.These became the standard for modern commercial diving operations. The diving helmet can be attributed to Augustus Siebe, who is considered to be the father of diving. Siebe was a German born inventor from the 19th century who when living in England created a diving helmet. His version of the helmet had a watertight seal and an air-containing rubber suit. This was connected via an air pump on land and became the first useful application of the diving helmet and suit. The modern day diving suits used today are more reflective of the closed diving suit that Siebe Gorman & Co developed. Unlike earlier diving helmets, Siebe’s was sealed to the diving suit making it perfectly air tight. An enormous feat indeed. This proved to be a safer way for undersea exploration and helped to revolutionize the 1830s way of undersea exploration. Though, Alexander McKee stated that Siebe was merely the leading manufacturer of the designs made by brothers John and Charles Deane.

In the 1960′s, the commercial diver Joe Savoie invented the neck dam that made it possible for a new series of lighter weighted helmets to come about. Such types of lightweight helmets include the Superlight series. However, because he only wanted to improve the safety of divers, Savoie did not pursue a patent for his innovations.

The next step in the evolution of the diving helmet is the full face diving mask. This covered the entire face of the diver, and was held in place by way of adjustable straps. Indeed, the diving helmet came a long way since its invention to become the amazing piece of nautical equipment it is now.

The use of the diving helmet is not restricted to undersea adventures, however. Due to the air tight nature of the diving helmet, diving helmets were even used during the first world war to protect the British Army from the horrors of the notorious mustard gas that took the lives of many.

Now these classic copper diving helmet designs are used to adorn public museums and private nautical artifact collections around the world.

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  1. February 14th, 2013 at 16:30 | #1