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

Original Art McCray Diving Bonnet by Morse 1943

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This Fine Relic Has Been Sold to England. Thank you!

 

ORIGINAL Art McCRAY  
DIVING HELMET 1943
     By MORSE
     
GUARANTEED AUTHENTIC 

Found in a storeroom in Florida!

Presented is one of the few original McCray diving bonnets made shown alongside a U.S. Navy MK V bonnet which illustrates it's reduced volume. No breast plate is included. There are various stories of how many in total were produced. Of the original group, some sources say 8, 9, and one person said as many as 20 were made. No one knows how many have survived. The best available information is from Ken Downey of Morse Diving who reports that McCray had the bonnets spun on the West Coast, and then sent to Morse for finishing where all the parts were installed.

Each bonnet was fitted with a used breast plate adapted for a neck or breast feed air supply, and assigned a Morse serial number. Based on Morse records 12 of these complete helmets were made. Ken says Morse records show this one was made as a “neck feed” for Walter McCray in a lot of five on Dec 21, 1943. Walter Arthur McCray was the son of long time diver Walter McCray. The son was known as “Art”. The Morse Diving certification will accompany the bonnet.

                                    Right side with exhaust

The McCray family story is a legend. They were a family of divers operating in the Pacific Northwest out of Seattle, WA, and descended from seafarers. Art McCray designed this very small flat top helmet in the 1940’s with a large neck ring. The result was a bonnet that reduced buoyancy and a size that allowed a diver to get into tight spaces, getting his face up close to the work. 

Art's original design, of which this is one of a very few, consisted of this low volume, flat-topped-pot shaped bonnet. The air supply was at the back of the neck ring. The air passes through a channel in the neck ring to the front of the helmet and is directed upward across the front port and the diver's face. Hence, no vents can be seen inside the hat. This design also needed less air to circulate and clear the carbon dioxide than did a traditional helmet. The flat-topped bonnet was used only on the first few McCray helmets, but the cylindrical shape of the hat with equal diameter neck ring remained the same.

                  Lock and speaker housing on right side
 
McCray helmets also have three ports; a large round front port and two horizontal, oval side ports. The cast brass port frames have a scalloped shape where the mounting screws are located. McCray spun the tops and sent them to A.J. Morse in Boston for finishing using used breast plates. From this beginning, Northwest divers modified and developed other helmets to meet their needs so there  are many variations in design which have resulted in helmets being known as McCray style, McCray type, or Pacific Northwest helmet.
There are also Morse recreations available for around $5,200.00, but they lack the historical significance of an original. Go www.morsediving.com

SPECIFICATIONS:

Front port 6” diameter  Side ports 6 ” x 4” ” flange  Speaker never fitted
Overall height 9 ”       Neck ring 10” diameter            Weight 15 lbs

 
       No air inlet on back of McCray. The breast plate supplies the air.

This bonnet will make an outstanding addition to any serious collection of diving helmets and gear! 

         This picture of Art McCray was taken in 1953 where he is holding a hat with this style speaker housing in his right arm. By some quirk of fate, might it be this one? FYI, Deep, Dark and Dangerous: On the Bottom with the Northwest Salvage ... - Google Books Result In this book is a particularly gripping piece of information that tells how Art McCray brought his father’s lifeless body to the surface, and the next day returned to the job to work. 

     The book is highly recommended, and a copy will be given to the new owner of the helmet offered.

   No vents.  A speaker was never fitted
Chin release valve. No vents 

         Neck feed on Morse 12 bolt Commercial helmet
No breast plate is included.

International buyers welcome, but should inquire first.  We have satisfied customers in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Estonia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Martinique, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Nova Scotia, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USVI and the Eastern Caribbean.
 
OUR UNCONDITIONAL NO NONSENSE GUARANTEE: If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned within five days of receipt in its original packaging if without damage. Return items must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization from us for the return is required. Shipping charges are  included in this offer if an error is due to our fault.

ACCEPTED FORMS OF PAYMENT are Bank wire transfer, cashier's check, money order, or personal check in which case the item will be held until cleared. No credit cards or PayPal accepted on this item.  In deference to the new owner, the serial number will be disclosed as part of the closing.

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