DESCO Heavy Commercial Diving Helmets

This helmet is similar in material and construction to the U.S. Navy Mark V but makes use of a simpler, although equally rugged design. Breastplate will fit dresses with a commercial collar only.

Approximate shipping weight 54 lbs.

Standard fittings included with Three Light Commercial helmet:

  1. Double spring, adjustable tension, automatic exhaust valve with exterior star-wheel, interior chin button, and banana tube to exhaust air to the rear of the helmet.

  2. Non-return valve with standard submarine threads.

  3. Breastplate eyelets for hose and lifeline attachments.

  4. Breastplate and faceplate gaskets.

  5. Spring Lock

  6. Front window is circular and uses a screw in type faceplate.

  7. Side windows are oval and are mounted horizontally (can be mounted vertically by request).

Options:

  1. Spitcock

  2. Telephone cup

  3. Transceiver

  4. Telephone Gooseneck

( info www.descocorp.com )

The ‘four light’ Commercial Diving Helmet

The ‘three light’ Commercial Diving Helmet

Commercial type diving helmets trace their lineage to the 1800's, long before the USN Mark V came about. Morse and Schrader both made helmets on the commercial pattern. What really determines the helmet type is the collar pattern of the breastplate. The commercial helmets are distinctive being wide across the shoulder and back, but not dropping very far down front or back. If you were a commercial diver post American Civil War you probably dove a Sponge style or a commercial helmet. There was much innovation going on at the time. Morse and Schrader made a variety of helmets with various features. One heavyweight helmet design stood the test of time, and that was the commercial helmet. It drew from the best features of the sponge divers helmet and beefed them up to take the rigors and abuse of construction and salvage diving.                                                                              ( info www.descocorp.com )

This helmet is similar in material and construction to the U.S. Navy Mark V but makes use of a simpler, although equally rugged design. Breastplate will fit dresses with a commercial collar only.

Approximate shipping weight 58 lbs.

Standard fittings included with Four Light Commercial Helmet:

  1. Double spring, adjustable tension, automatic exhaust valve with exterior star-wheel, interior chin button, and banana tube to exhaust air to the rear of the helmet.

  2. Non-return valve with standard submarine threads.

  3. Breastplate eyelets for hose and lifeline attachments.

  4. Breastplate and faceplate gaskets.

  5. Spitcock

  6. Telephone cup

  7. Transceiver

  8. Telephone Gooseneck

  9. Spring Lock

  10. Front window is circular and uses a screw in type faceplate.

  11. Side windows are oval and are mounted horizontally (can be mounted vertically by request).

  12. Oval top window.

  13. ( info www.descocorp.com )

DESCO Nuclear Diving Helmet

The DESCO Nuclear Helmet came into being from a design by John Peterson of Peterson's Diving of Chicago, IL in the late 1980's. Three diving firms (Peterson's, Scott, and Chicago) in northern Illinois were owned by extended family members. After John retired these helmets were used by Scott Diving in nuclear power plant maintenance dives. Since preventing water infiltration is critical in nuclear diving every method available to prevent it was incorporated into the design.

 

The early helmets used the Morse air control valve while current helmets incorporate the Browne Commercial air control valve. The communications connection is unique in the design is totally blind (no opening between the inside and outside). Brass rod is epoxied into a phenolic insulator with only the ends drilled and tapped for screws. This eliminates the possibility of leakage passed the terminals.

 

Another feature of the Nuclear helmet is its use of the U.S. Navy Helium helmet double exhaust valve. The Navy developed this valve in the late 1940's due to salt water leaking back into the helmets. If the salt water came in contact with the scrubbing agent in the canister Chlorine gas was produced. The result of an accident of this kind was serious chemical burns to skin, eyes, and lungs or a particularly nasty death. The effectiveness of the double exhaust valve made it a natural choice for inclusion on the Nuclear helmet.

 

One feature of the Nuclear helmet was the solid Acrylic front door. It does away with the heavy cast brass door, retaining ring, and guard.  DESCO would not build another helmet using this method until the Browne Commercial Helmet some twenty years later. Breastplated helmets have fallen largely out of favor for commercial work. The majority of contaminated diving is now handled by the Air Hat.                                                                                                                                                                                                         ( info www.descocorp.com  )

The DESCO Nuclear Diving Helmet has features for use in extreme contamination situations. This heavy Commercial helmet uses the standard commercial pattern breastplate and top shell, the standard banana tube exhaust is replaced with a Helium type double exhaust mounted on top and in back on the shell. The brass "Screw In" front door is replaced with a clear shatter resistant Acrylic "Screw In" front window. The air control valve is integrated into the helmet and the air is ducted to the windows through tubes from a central diffuser. Communications is through two blind terminals set in Phenolic insulators which straddle the air inlet elbow.                                                                                         ( images & info www.descocorp.com )

DESCO Fisheries Diving Helmet

The DESCO Fisheries Helmet features one large curved front window. It can be ordered as a lightweight helmet with a Sponge style top shell and breastplate, which will fit lightweight dress collars (Yokohama), or as a heavyweight helmet with a commercial top shell, and a Commercial or a Mark V breastplate. The helmet comes standard with a Marsh Marine type plug and can be ordered for a 2 wire or 4 wire setup. Communications binding posts are also an option. The air inlet and exhaust valve are Mark V type, and the helmet lock is a spring loaded commercial style. Tin plating is standard. Approximate shipping weight 50 lbs.                                                                                                                                            ( info www.descocorp.com )

Heavyweight Fisheries Helmet on a Commercial Helmet breast plate

Lightweight Fisheries Helmet on a ‘Sponge Helmet’ breast plate

                                                                                   ( image  www.descocorp.com )

                                                                                   ( image  http://www.descocorp.com/  )

DESCO Nuclear Diving Helmet ‘Special Order’

This DESCO Nuclear helmet appeared on ebay somewhere in 2010 and the seller stated that he had ordered this helmet from DESCO at specifications he had provided himself. The bonnet looks like a mix between a ‘MK5 HEO2’ and a ‘Commercial’ helmet, the neckring is from a DESCO ‘Air Hat’. A ‘one of a kind‘ DESCO Nuclear helmet.                                                                                     

Unfortunately I don’t know the seller of this helmet because I would have asked him if he has saved the original ( larger ) photographs he used for the ebay listing.

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