Diving Helmet

Production date
East Germany
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Object detail

MEDI Diving Helmet, c.1950-1952 (German)
Shallow water diving helmet, 3 bolt, 4 light (window). Follows the Draeger design. Corselet pointy at front centre.
CH classification MARITIME TECHNOLOGY Diving Diver's helmet
Production date
Production place
H570mm x W400mm x D370mm
Media/Materials description
Copper, brass, glass, rubber
Manufacture's moulded insignia (front centre of corselet):
The upper front neck ring is stamped with 107 (front left) and 01.13 (front centre). The lower neck ring has TEK stamped slightly left of centre front.
History and use
Manufactured by the MEDizin Institute Leipzig East Germany Company. Prior to manufacturing their own diving equipment the East German Navy always used Draeger helmets but this ceased at the time the Berlin Wall was constructed and shortly thereafter a shortage of helmets arose. It is believed that MEDI produced only 250 three-bolt diving helmets for the East German Navy. As one of only 250 helmets produced, this piece is an incredibly rare example of pre-SCUBA diving equipment. These helmets were produced using two types of corselets (one round and one more sharply pointed). This helmet's corselet is an example of the latter.

In 1889 the Draeger company of Lubeck, West Germany commenced manufacturing commercial diving equipment. For nearly 50 years the Navies of East and West Germany used diving helmets made by Draeger. When the social state of the German Democratic Republic of East Germany was established in 1949 the East German Navy refused to purchase diving equipment from what was considered a ‘capitalist’ company, preferring eastern suppliers. During 1950-52 the East German Navy commissioned a series of three-bolt helmets such as this one from MEDI (Medizin Institut Leipzig East Germany). Made from copper, the helmet was fastened to the diver’s waterproof suit by three bolts, hence the name ‘three bolt’ diving helmet.
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