11 - US Navy MkV (DESCO) Diving Helmet

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US Navy MkV (DESCO) Diving Helmet

A lovely authentic 12 bolt, 4 light diving helmet made by the Diving Equipment & Salvage Company Ltd (DESCO).

Dated & commissioned on 15 Jan 1945.

Serial number #2125 on the maker's plate corresponds to the bonnet and collar. There is the US Navy Inspectors mark ("U anchor S") on the Maker's Plate.

The helmet is in excellent condition with its tinning intact. There are no dents and very few marks or abrasions. The air vents are all intact. The right side chin relief valve, spit cock handle, front door wing nut, all turn easily. The speaker housing has its interior piece attached. A BTE exhaust valve is fitted, and the comm elbow has a nut.

This helmet was previously owned by Leon Lyons, Forida.

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By 1915, the Bureau of Construction and Repair had designed the MK V Diving Helmet which seemed to address many of the problems encountered in diving. This deep-sea outfit was designed for extensive, rugged diving work and provided the diver maximum physical protection and some maneuverability.

The 1915 MK V Diving Helmet had an elbow inlet with a safety valve that allowed air to enter the helmet, but not to escape back up the umbilical if the air supply were interrupted. Air was expelled from the helmet through an exhaust valve on the right side, below the port. The exhaust valve was vented toward the rear of the helmet to prevent escaping bubbles from interfering with the diver’s field of vision.

By 1916, several improvements had been made to the helmet, including a rudimentary communications system via a telephone cable and a regulating valve operated by an interior push button. The regulating valve allowed some control of the atmospheric pressure. A supplementary relief valve, known as the spit cock, was added to the left side of the helmet. A safety catch was also incorporated to keep the helmet attached to the breast plate. The exhaust valve and the communications system were improved by 1927, and the weight of the helmet was decreased to be more comfortable for the diver.

After 1927, the MK V changed very little. It remained basically the same helmet used in salvage operations of the USS S-51 and USS S-4 in the mid-1920s. With its associated deep-sea dress and umbilical, the MK V was used for all submarine rescue and salvage work undertaken in peacetime and practically all salvage work undertaken during World War II. The MK V Diving Helmet was the standard U.S. Navy diving equipment until succeeded by the MK 12 Surface-Supplied Diving helmet in February 1980, which in turn was replaced by the MK 21 in December 1993. 

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