Diving Helmet

Production date
Circa 1950
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Object detail

C. E. Heinke & Co. Ltd Diving Helmet, c.1950s (England)
6 bolt, 3 light (window). Standard dress diving helmet; Admiralty Pattern. Manufactured by Heinke in it's last days prior to the take-over by Siebe Gorman.
MARITIME TECHNOLOGY Diving Diver's helmet
Production date
Circa 1950
Production place
H500mm x W360mm x D400mm
Media/Materials description
Copper, brass, lead solder, glass
Moulded manufacturer's insignia (centre front of corselet):
C. E. HEINKE & Co. Ltd.,
HEINKE stamped into brails
History and use
This is a later post war Royal Navy Pattern, manufactured by the Heinke London factory in its last few days prior to the take-over by Siebe Gorman. The corselet (breastplate) is solid brass with the manufacturer's name moulded into the casting. The spitcock is on the left side attached by four (4) rivets and the air exhaust is near the back (on the right side) with the air intake in the centre back. The front light (window) lugs are made as an integral part of the casting, whereas the weight lugs are still riveted.

Charles Edward Heinke was born on the fourth of September 1818. He was the son of a Prussian immigrant, Gottlib Fredrick Heinke who was a successful copper smith and had a business at 103 Great Portland Street, London (est. 1819). Charles was to become a very successful manufacturer of diving equipment. His first helmet appeared around 1844. Heinke worked hard to improve the Siebe style helmet and gradually gained an excellent reputation for reliability and for being better designed from the practical point of view. He later introduced an additional exhaust valve on the front of the corselet (breastplate) (these days referred to as the 'peppermill'). This device made it possible for the diver to ascend and descend fast and as often as they wished. Heinke became world famous for his 'pearler' style helmet. These helmets featured a square corselet (breastplate) allowing the diver to bend forward to pick of shell from the sea bed. Companies like Siebe, TAO, Robinson, and Morse later copied the idea.

Charles died in 1869 but his company continued. The last helmet was produced in 1961. Over the years the company name changed:
C.E.Heinke, Submarine Engineer (from 1844 - 1871), during this period Heinke had 2 to 3 different trading names split around the family.
C.E.Heinke & Co., Submarine Engineers (from 1871 - 1922).
C.E.Heinke & Co. Ltd., Submarine Engineers (from 1922 - 1961).
Until 1905, helmet featured the 'butterfly' style wing nuts, after that regular wing nuts were used.
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