Charles Petit’s new air-pump, the ‘Modele 1888 a joints Giffard’ Photographs David L.Dekker

In 1889 Louis Denayrouze (brother of company founder Auguste Denayrouze) brought out a new style of helmet known as the ‘Scaphandre Denayrouze Charles Petit Modele 1889’  diving helmet which is also called the ‘Clampage’ (‘lock’) helmet or ‘Sans Boulons’ (without bolts) helmet.

The above engraving of the ‘Denayrouze Charles Petit Modele 1889’ is illustrated in the Bikkers sales catalogue of 1902, but there is no catalogue information given about the helmet. As there is no supporting evidence about this helmet being used in Holland it seems unlikely that this helmet made it on to the Dutch diving market (see chapter: ‘1841 BIKKERS HELMET’). The helmet (right hand photograph above) also shows the ‘Denayrouze Charles Petit Modele 1889’ helmet design, but this one was made by the English firm of ‘Siebe, Gorman & Co Ltd’. Only three of these English ‘copies’ are known to have survived which does confirm that these catalogued helmets were being built and sold by the Siebe, Gorman company. I acquired the helmet in Spain (photo above) in the 1990s. (See chapter: ‘1904 Siebe, Gorman & Co Ltd.‘). Photograph, David L.Dekker

A genuine ‘Denayrouze Charles Petit Modele 1889’ helmet. The brass straps which enforce the breastplate indicate that this helmet has been supplied to the French navy. Helmet collection Philippe Caresse. Photograph,  David L.Dekker

1889. ‘Scaphandre Denayrouze Charles Petit’. The ‘clampage’ ( ‘lock ‘) helmet

In 1885 Charles Petit bought the ‘Specialites Mecaniques Reunis’ company. The company name remained the same until 1895 when it was changed to ‘Societe Charles Petit’. Three years after Petit bought the company he introduced a new air-pump: the ‘Modell 1888 a joints Giffard’. The new air-pump was redesigned and now had its cylinders fixed at the base plate and included moving pistons (the two earlier models had fixed pistons and moving cylinders). The ‘reservoir intermediair’ (the tank which was placed between the pump and the air-hose in the previous model air-pump) was now integrated into the base and central column of the pump. The gauge was also fixed to the central column.

1885 Charles Petit buys ‘Specialites Mecaniques Reunis’

1889. ‘Scaphandre Denayrouze Charles Petit’ 3-bolt helmet

Catalogue information from this time period is scarce therefore I can only assume that the new model 3-bolt helmet was the same as the new ‘lock’ helmet of 1889, but with the old 3-bolt locking system. The new 3-bolt helmets from the company of ‘Societe Specialites Mecaniques reunis’ / Charles Petit has a different shape and the entire helmet is taller when compared to the earlier 3-bolt helmets.

The above helmet does not have a badge but it is a 3-bolt helmet made by Charles Petit. The helmet is taller than the 3-bolt helmets made by Denayrouze. Helmet: private collection. Photographs, David L.Dekker


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