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  1. #1

    Oct 2005
    Alexandria, Egypt
    146

    Hard Hat Diving

    Not sure where to post this, so webmasters please help out if this isn't the correct forum. Was out and about in town today (Alexandria, Egypt) picking up some supplies for work when I came across a diving helmet from Siebe & Gorman Submarine Engineers out of London. Have done some research online on Siebe and Gorman and know that the helmet is pre-1941. In 1941 the factory in London was destroyed by German bombing and much of the history of the company was lost forever.

    What I am looking for here is help in identifying various models of the Siebe & Gorman diving helmets. The helmets that I have seen online all have the air connection on the right-hand side with external piping on the outside of the helmet running up about 3-4 inches before entering the helmet itself. The one that I have found does not have the external piping, only having a direct connection between the hose and the helmet which leads me to believe that this may be a much older 12 bolt model. Also, where it is fastened to the diver's suit, there are 6 separate metal straps. The ones that I have seen on-line all appear to be one piece, again indicating an earlier model.

    Will get the serial numbers off of the helmet tomorrow and a couple of pictures to post. Lastly, this helmet appears to be in better condition than anything that I have seen online so far (which may mean that it could also be a newer model as well), just needs a lot of cleaning.

    If anyone has information on the various models of the Siebe and Gorman diving helmets, and/or information on early open-circuit diving in Egypt (1850-1940) it would be greatly appreciated.

    Would make a nice museum piece in my living room, old or not.
    Mike


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  3. #2
    us
    Feb 2004
    lake mary florida
    Wesmar SHD700SS Side Scan Sonar,U/W Mac 1 Turbo Aquasound by American Electronics,Fisher 1280x,Aquasound UW md,Aqua pulse AQ1B
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    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    you have a nice piece of treasure there.check out the prices in the link.

    Siebe's 'closed' diving helmet, first produced in 1840, allowed divers to dive safely to greater depths than ever before. Attached to a rubber suit, it became the 'Standard Dress' that revolutionised diving and made the underwater worker an essential part of both salvage operations and civil engineering. Many of the great building projects of the Victorian era - bridges, tunnels and lighthouses still in use today - could not have been built without divers.

    Siebe's design was so successful that it remained in use essentially unchanged, by the Royal Navy until 1989. Born in Saxony in 1788 and trained as a metalworker in Berlin, Siebe served in the Prussian army against Napoleon before emigrating to London in 1816. He moved into 5, Denmark Street, a four-storey house dating from the 1680s, in 1830. Located in St Giles-in-the-Fields, an area which has had a long-standing connection with the metal-working trades, the property served both as his home and his commercial premises.

    Siebe manufactured his first 'closed' diving helmet in 1840. Previously, divers had relied on 'open' helmets from which spent air had to escape beneath the rim of the helmet or below the hem of the diver's rubber jacket, increasing the risk of drowning. Siebe's 'closed' helmet was bolted onto a modified diving suit based on the open helmet dress, with divers receiving air from a pump on the surface. The suit was watertight and thus safer than earlier types of diving dress. Together with special pumps designed by Siebe, it made diving to a depth of about 25 metres possible.

    Siebe perfected the design of his new diving suit during the salvage operations carried out between 1840 and 1843 on the warship HMS Royal George, sunk in 1782. Following this practical experience of salvage work, his company became the known as source for the safest and best of diving systems.

    Siebe's other inventions include a dial weighing machine, a paper-making machine, and a rotary water pump. In 1850, he manufactured one of the first ever ice-making machines. Siebe won numerous medals at the 1851 Great Exhibition and the 1855 Paris Exhibition, and was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1856.

    Siebe died at 5, Denmark St in 1872. His obituary described him as "retiring, kind of heart and honourable in all his dealings." The firm went out-of-business in 1999.


    http://www.bottomoftheharbour.com/divinghelmetMain.html
    Millions of dollars of Spanish treasure await those who would dare brave the eye of the hurricane.

  4. #3

    Oct 2005
    Alexandria, Egypt
    146

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    Thanks Fisheye,
    I've already read the info that you posted. The effort on your part is still greatly appreciated.

    After reading your post I realized that I made a mistake in that the Siebe & Gordon helmets were of a closed circuit air system, not an open circuit as I originally posted.

    Mike

  5. #4

    Oct 2005
    Alexandria, Egypt
    146

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    Went back to the shop that had the Siebe and Gordon diving helmet and took some pics of it. Unfortunately, they are too big to post here (120K +). Took a better educated look at the helmet after doing some research and couldn't find any serial numbers on the helmet. It also looks to have had numerous repairs done to it. Plus numerous repairs to make it more appealing to the eye as a museum piece. Decided not to buy it even thought it was only in the $600 range, but arranged to look at another Siebe and Gordon diving helment tomorrow that does have serial numbers on it, complete with suit and boots.

    Not being a hard hat diver, but have always been intrigued by it, I don't really know a whole lot about what I should be looking for. If anybody here is interested in seeing the pics that I took today and think that they may be able to help identify what I've found, I would be more than happy to e-mail them to you directly.

    Would also like to locate a training manual for hard hat diving pertaining to shipwreck entry and recovery. I'd like to read about the dive theory from "way back when" and now, as well as penetration diving back then.

    Mike

  6. #5

    May 2005
    517

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    Are you sure its a Siebe and Gordon, there were a few hard hat manufactures around.

    As for a book try to get a copy of Volume 1 US diving manual it has some early history in it.


    I am off to Hongkong for Christmas so I will check back after I return

  7. #6

    Oct 2005
    Alexandria, Egypt
    146

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    The name plate on the chest of the helmet says "Siebe & Gorman" Underneath that is written "Submarine Engineers", with "London" beneath that. The only question I have about it is that there are no serial numbers on it. When I did the standard "haggling" with the shop owners, I was informed that they have a couple more of them that have serial numbers, but the price is a bit higher. Am to take a look at those today. Hopefully I can get the pics down to a small enough size to post here.

    Have a good Christmas
    Mike

  8. #7

    Feb 2005
    12

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    Merry Christmas Naked1 - It's a little too cold to be naked up here in Canada. Attached are 2 pics of a SG hhelmet I have. You will notice where the seriel #'s are located. Also this hat has original tinning. Approx. value 120-15K-US - Cheers, Bob
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Helemt.jpg 
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ID:	76110   Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	76111  

  9. #8

    Feb 2005
    12

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    Naked1 - I forgot to mention that each breast plate strap, of which there are 4, has a serial number. See pic. All serial numbers should match for max. value. Estimated value 10-15K-US - Bob
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #9

    Oct 2005
    Alexandria, Egypt
    146

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    Bob,
    Thanks for the information. The ones that I looked at today all have serial numbers on the faceplates, however, there are no serial numbers on the inside of the bonnet or chest plate. Also, someone other than the original manufacturer hand stamped "Siebe Gorman" on the bales (breast plate straps, of which there are 6) are in the wrong place....Hence, these are some really old diving helmets that were produced by a different company. Especially since one of the manufacturer's plates affixed to one of the four helmets that I saw today had "Subnarine Enginer's" stamped on it. And the word "(patent)" underneath LONDON was missing. All of the helmets have seen use and I suspect that they are either Italian or German from the 40's or 50's judging by the dents, corrosion, and a lot of internet research, patterned after the Siebe Gorman design and the locals here decided to try and pawn them off as Siebe Gorman's for the resale value. Went ahead and bought the best of the lot just to have a nice piece in my reception area. Is cleaning up nicely and with a little work might actually be a serviceable piece of equipment as well as looking good in my flat. Purchase price?.....around $200. Could still use some help in identifying the origin of the helmet. Still can't get the pics down to a size here that I can post.

    Again, thanks for the info,
    Mike

  11. #10

    Feb 2005
    12

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    I'm surprised that there are 6 bales and not the original 4. For smaller pics try using a program called "Ultra Snap". Bob

  12. #11

    Oct 2005
    Alexandria, Egypt
    146

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    Bob,
    As I said, this is probably a helmet based on the SG design that may be of Italian or German origin. Thanks for the pic processing info. Wil check it out and hopefully post some pics. Have split the pics into two sections, bonnet and chestplate. Will send the chestplate pic in a second post. In the chestplate pic (and I apologize for the bad photography) notice that the nameplate it off-kilter. This is the nameplate that has the SG information spelled wrong. Would like to hear your thoughts on where this helmet may have originated.

    Mike
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Helmet_Upper2.jpg 
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ID:	76113  

  13. #12

    Oct 2005
    Alexandria, Egypt
    146

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    Here's the chest plate. Again sorry for the bad photography :P
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Helmet_Nameplate.jpg 
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ID:	76114  

  14. #13

    Feb 2005
    12

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    Mike - Please post pic of side liigjts and rear goosenecks. - Bob

  15. #14

    Oct 2005
    Alexandria, Egypt
    146

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    Sidelites and fittings.

    Thanks for the interest Bob. Greatly appreciated.
    Mike
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  16. #15

    Feb 2005
    12

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    Thanks Mike - I'll get back to you. - Bob

  17. #16

    Oct 2005
    Alexandria, Egypt
    146

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    After more research on the dive helmet, I'm thinking that I may have a Japanese TOA of some variety. Everything about the helmet matches the TOA except for the valve on the front being on the right side instead of the left. The sidelights match some versions of the TOA and were fastened with screws from the inside as the one that I have does. The port on the back of the helmet is missing the hose connection I think. The bailes were, at one time, a single piece. After removing them I found that they had no serial numbers, two of them appear to be replacement pieces which were poorly machined. Bob, or anyone else, if you have more information on the TOA's it would be greatly appreciated.

    At the very least, thanks for taking the time to read this Merry Christmas to all from Egypt.
    Mike

  18. #17

    Oct 2005
    Alexandria, Egypt
    146

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    Okay, last question. How in the heck do I make this thing shiny other than months of "elbow grease"? Gotta be an easier way.

    Again, hope all of you are having a Merry Christmas and all is well with you and yours

    Mike

  19. #18
    us
    monty

    Jan 2005
    Sand Springs, OK
    ACE 250, Garrett
    10,748
    74 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (1)

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    You could have the thing sandblasted, telling the operator to be careful of markings. Monty
    Don't make me loose the hounds! If you dig, Cover up your holes.

  20. #19
    us
    Feb 2004
    lake mary florida
    Wesmar SHD700SS Side Scan Sonar,U/W Mac 1 Turbo Aquasound by American Electronics,Fisher 1280x,Aquasound UW md,Aqua pulse AQ1B
    2,054
    51 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    dont sand blast it,the way to clean it would be to first use tarnex,get all the oxide off first,then use a metal polish on it with a electric buffer it will shine like it was brand new.
    Millions of dollars of Spanish treasure await those who would dare brave the eye of the hurricane.

  21. #20

    May 2005
    517

    Re: Hard Hat Diving

    This is a TOA from the 1950's its for sale at 9500US$
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Japanese-Helmet-Front.jpg 
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ID:	76335  

 

 
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