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Antique Diving Helmets

Antique helmets for a deep dive were primarily used by branches of the military and for researchers who needed to dive and spend more than one or two minutes under the deep water. These diving helmets were paired with a diving suit, and they can make a unique addition to your homes decor.

What are the features of antique diving helmets?
  • Front and back insignia: Helmets that were used by the Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard for a dive offer insignia with the seal of the appropriate branch of the armed forces, the helmet number, logos, and other decorative finishes.
  • Fittings and buckles: The exterior of the helmets features metal or animal skin buckles and fittings that were used in order to form a seal between the helmet and the diving suit.
  • Hinged front glass: The hinged front glass of the helmet allowed the person to lift up the glass and get a better view of the sea floor after a dive. Lifting up the glass also facilitated breathing once the person rose to the surface after completing diving to a moderate depth.
What materials are antique diving helmets made from?
  • Glass: The visor portion of the diving helmets was typically made of glass. As World War II approached, the diving helmets were designed with glass that was more resistant to shattering. The glass of the diving helmet allowed the divers to see what was in front of them.
  • Metal: Brass and copper were typically used in diving helmets for divers who needed to go underwater in saltwater. These helmet materials offered an enhanced resistance against the salts in the ocean water. This material was also durable when diving to a moderate depth with a moderate level of pressure.
  • Leather: Leather was used in diving helmets to help the divers stay warm when diving into cold water. The animal skin also allowed the diver to access a greater depth of saltwater or freshwater, because more of the body heat would be trapped between the prepared animal skin flaps on the helmet and the canvas of the diving suit.
How were antique diving helmets used?

The helmet sealed the divers head so that they could access a considerable depth in the ocean. By sealing the persons head, the helmet helped to reduce the amount of atmospheric pressure that could otherwise cause serious illness. The helmet also supplied an access port for the delivery of oxygen under pressure so that the person could breathe while underwater. The older helmets featured a free flow design for delivering breathing air under pressure. This simple design connected to a closed canvas diving suit and was connected to a pump floating on the surface of the saltwater or freshwater. Hosing went into the helmet for the delivery of air. The helmets were used in placing mines, looking for treasures, exploring sunken ships, and checking out underwater obstacles.

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