19 - British Siebe Gorman 6-Bolt Admiralty Pattern
British Siebe Gorman 6-Bolt AP Helmet
Dated around 1945 or possibly earlier.
This beautiful patinated helmet has matching numbers on the Helmet, Breast plate & Brails (#14677). Faceplate (#15298) and helmet viewport is stamped 'AP 7985'.
Spitcock and air exhaust valve operating freely. Telephone blanking nut.
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HISTORY OF SIEBE GORMAN DIVING
Augustus Siebe the German-born founder of the firm which bears his name (1788-1872) is considered "the father of diving". 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 revolutionized 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, until 1975. However, the Royal Navy required one of their own design, and the British Admiralty requested a helmet made to their specifications which used heavier materials in 1938. This was the Royal Navy six bolt helmet, as seen in this offering. The rest of the "Jake" was standard commercial equipment, except for the front weight which had a light fitted to it, to aid the diver. The chest weights weigh about 40lbs. each and are tied down to stop the helmet rising from the diver’s shoulders. The weights are hung from weight hangers on the front of the breast plate.
The Royal Navy set out to extend the limits of deep diving and established a world depth record, in 1948, of 540-feet wearing a Siebe Gorman helmet of this design, but incorporating a Davis Injector system, flexible dress, and used the fast dwindling supplies of American Lend-Lease helium. Petty-Officer Bollard set the depth record that was to last eight years. Not until 1956 would the baton pass to another.
In October of that year, Senior Commissioned Boatswain George Wookey, descended to a depth of 600-feet, setting record for a helmeted diver wearing flexible dress that still stands.