Diving Helmet

Production date
Circa 1940
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Object detail

Siebe Gorman Diving Helmet, c. 1940s (England)
6 bolt, 3 light (window) Standard dress diving helmet; Admiralty Pattern.
MARITIME TECHNOLOGY Diving Diver's helmet
Production date
Circa 1940
Production place
Height 485mm (measured from base of corselet to highest point on bonnet)
Width 372mm (measured between two widest points of of the bonnet and corselet included)
Depth 418mm (measured between the most forward projection of the bonnet/corselet and the furtherest rear projection of the bonnet/corselet)
Media/Materials description
Copper & brass composite, lead solder, glass, rubber/leather gaskets
Manufacturer's name plaque (centre front of corselet):
FRONT and PATENT are stamped into the brails
TELEPHONE is stamped into the hex cap on the telephone elbow connection
History and use
The 6 bolt Siebe Gorman was originally built to the specifications of the Royal Navy, and as a result is known as the Admiralty Pattern. When diving teams were first introduced into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 1916, the Admiralty Pattern diving helmets was also introduced. Its robust design also made it popular with other divers. Unlike the 12 bolt helmet which has 4 brails (metal straps on the corselet), the 6 bolt has only 2 brails. This reduced the time taken to suit up and the chance of tearing the collar of the suit.

Augustus Siebe the German born British citizen, founder of the firm that bears his name (1788-1872), is considered 'the father of diving'. Siebe's 'closed' diving helmet (first produced in 1840) allowed divers to safely dive 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, some still in use today, could not have been built without Siebe Gorman diving equipment.

Siebe's standard helmet 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 6 bolt helmet (of which this helmet is an example).
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