Nautical Antiques & Marine Art at Land and Sea Collection™ Dive Helmets, Ship Models, Sextants

ROYAL NAVY 1940 SEIBE GORMAN 6 BOLT DIVING HELMET

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This Fine Helmet Has Been Sold. THANK YOU!
SIEBE GORMAN ROYAL NAVY DIVE HELMET
 

 
Presented is an authentic 6 bolt, 3 light Siebe.Gorman Royal Navy pattern helmet from the 1940's era . It was previously owned by U.S. Navy diver "Boots" Servario who served with distinction in the U.S. Navy from 1942 until 1966 when he was forced to retire due to health. Byron Servario, Jr., his son, a retired Army officer in Special Forces and also a diver, personally saw this helmet when the family was together in Yokusuka, Japan, during Boots' tour there in 1960 as Docking Officer. The helmet has been in family's possession since then which is 46 years, but likely longer since there is no record of when or how Boots' acquired it.
 
"Boots" being suited up. USS SAFEGUARD 1959
       "Boots" & Byron, Jr., Rockport, TX, 1978 
                    As originally received
                            Few if any dents
CONDITION and MARKINGS: The helmet originally was tinned, but over the years had become badly oxidized, and some had worn off in spots which distracted from its overall near perfect condition of the bonnet and breast plate. It was because of this that the helmet was recently polished.
 
The heavily worn  tag, is pitted by corrosion, and reads Siebe Gorman & Co. Ltd., Submarine Engineers, London, Patent. "Front" and "Patent" appear in two places on the front bails. The breast plate has number 12423 stamped on the inside back neck ring. The bails are stamped the same underneath, and "back". The bonnet number, 12318, appears on the back inside of its neck ring.  The air passages inside are intact and the relief valve works. The spit cock and front door open. There is a telephone elbow on the back with a large size hex cap marked "telephone". All the port lights are in excellent original condition. There are no dents on this helmet which only attest to being in a private collection all these years.
 
DIMENSIONS OF HELMET: 19" H x 14 1/2" W   WEIGHT 48 lbs

 
BRIEF HISTORY: 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 Seibe 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.
 
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