the scrapbook of diving history


The DM200 helmet pictured above I bought in England in 1995 not knowing at the time that the helmet was genuine but the breastplate was a copy (reproduction). I soon learnt (the hard way) that the DM200 helmets had already been manufactured in certain numbers before complaints started to reach Draegerwerk. The most important complaint was that the exhaust-valve was too close to the knob which secured the front-window. When the diver wanted to adjust the exhaust-valve he had to turn it. When working with gloves on, the diver could inadvertently undo the front-window ‘locking device’ and the window would easily open at the next touch. When this happened the diver would lose all his air and fill his entire suit with water within seconds (not a good idea!). Yet another complaint was that the typical Draeger ‘eye’ on top of the helmet was missing. The helmet was re-designed and a ‘modified’ DM220 helmet was introduced (see chapter: ‘Draegerwerk part 3’ ). The exhaust-valve was placed much further to the back of the helmet and an ‘eye’ was installed on top, making the helmet silhouette resemble the old ‘Bubikopf’ helmet. Following re-modelling and because of costs, any new helmets were simply used with the old breastplates (in 1988 a DM220 bonnet cost 11895 DM / about 6000 euro; the breastplate cost 5367 DM / about 2700 euro). When these helmets became collectable some unscrupulous dealers used newly cast resin breastplates to match the obsolete DM200 bonnets. These reproduction breastplates can be recognized by the word DRÄGER which was not cast into the neck-ring but engraved instead. A closer look will reveal the ‘spiral scratches’ of the engraving in a reproduction breastplate.

Genuine Draeger DM200 bonnet on a fake breastplate