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

Historic Navy Diver's 1943 Schrader MK V Dive Helmet Mint

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This Outstanding Helmet & Owner History Have Been Sold. Thank you!
 
HISTORIC 1943 SCHRADER U.S. NAVY MK V DIVING HELMET - NAVY DIVER'S
Former Navy Diver's and CO, USS Florikan (ASR 9)

US Navy Inspection Stamp & all Matching Numbers

 

Schrader was one of the original maker's of Navy MK V's during WW II.
Owned for the last 52 years by a Navy Officer and Enlisted Master Diver.


TOTAL WEIGHT:      53 lbs  BONNET: 31 lbs   BREAST PLATE: 22 lbs
SERIAL NUMBER:  326B                                      DATE: 7 - 1943
 
STAND NOT INCLUDED

Copyright 2012 by Land And Sea Collection™, All Rights Reserved

 

Presented is a high quality U.S. Navy MK V helmet made by Schrader in 1943 that comes from the Estate of a career Naval Officer who joined the Service as a young man in 1945 as a seaman recruit. During the course of his 29 year career he rose through the enlisted ranks, became a master diver, Heliox diver, and then as a commissioned officer advanced in rank to a diving officer, navigator, executive officer and finally as a lieutenant commander was the captain of a submarine rescue ship. Along the way he served in surface ships and submarines and is said to have been the first to dive in the freezing waters of the Arctic Circle in 1962. He retired in 1974 as a lieutenant commander after serving two years as the commanding officer of the USS Florikan (ASR 9) a very rare job for a former enlisted man.

 

HELMET & MARKINGS:  Authentic 12 bolt, 4 light Schrader Navy MK V dated AUG 1943 with serial number 326 B on the maker's tag. All the brails are marked 326 and the lower and upper neck rings of the breast pate and bonnet are stamped the same. There is the Navy Inspectors mark of a "U anchor S" on the top of the speaker housing, and 326 is on the opposite end.

 

FORMER OWNER'S BIOGRAPHY IN BRIEF: Robert L. Witten was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1929 and at age 17 joined the Navy as a youngster filled with dreams of adventure and patriotism. During the course of his naval career he served primarily in three submarines, Bashaw (SSK 241), Bluegill (SSK 2420 and USS Sea Dragon (SSN 584) which was the sixth Nuclear sub in service. Sea Dragon made the first Polar Underwater Expedition to the North Pole in 1962. It was during this period that Bob Witten was commissioned as an ensign. He continued to wear his enlisted submarine qualification silver Dolphins and the silver Master Diver device though out his career. It also is reported that he was the first person to dive under the Polar Ice Cap. Following this tour, he served in two submarine tenders, the Nereus (AS 17) and Dixon (AS 37) as diving officer and navigator, and two submarine rescue vessels, Chanticleer (ASR 7) as executive officer, and USS Florikan (ASR 9) as commanding officer. Robert L. Witten was commended for his bravery in saving several lives and his exceptional leadership as a ship's commander, submariner, deep sea diver and navigator. His five personal awards include the Command at Sea device, the  Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Good conduct Medal with 4 Stars, Combat Action Medal, and eleven Service Medals and ribbons.
 
He retired from the Navy on Sept. 1, 1974 as a Lieutenant Commander, but continued his seagoing career in the Merchant Marine for 20 more years sailing the world's oceans. He commanded oceanographic research vessels for Nekton Inc. of San Diego and commanded vessels for Lloyd's of London Insurance Co.
 
He died in Las Vegas, NV on July 1, 2005 at age 76, and his ashes were buried at sea in the Pacific during a shipboard ceremony by the U.S. Navy.
 
 

                LCDR Robert L. Witten, USN Ca 1974

       Suited up in a MK V rig
           Letters from Arctic home
 

             Getting dressed in the Arctic
  Climbing the hull of Sea Dragon in the Arctic

CONDITION: Considering its 69 years age and use, it is in absolutely fine condition overall. Years ago, the helmet was lacquered and some of the coating is abraded. There are the kind of dents and abrasions that are there from use, the largest two of which is on the upper left.  The air vents are all intact.The right side chin relief valve, spit cock handle, front door wing nut, all turn easily. The speaker housing is empty. No check valve is fitted, and neither the comm or the air elbow have a nut.  Everything you can think of has a 326 stamp and the customary inspector's cartouche.




Like all used diving gear, this is being sold for DISPLAY ONLY. It should not be dived without having passed inspection by a certified dive shop.

   M Maker's tag SN 326B 7-43
     Upper & lower neck rings marked 326

 
Note missing transceiver
       Arrow points to Inspector's mark 

WE ALSO HAVE AN EARLY MORSE COMMERCIAL HELMET Ca 1900 WITH AN HONEST

ALFRED HALE TAG AND KNOWN HISTORY FOR SALE. CLICK  
http://landandseacollection.com/id811.html


                The comm elbow is on left and the air supply elbow on the right


HISTORY OF SCHRADER DIVING
: Schrader is one of the oldest names in U.S. diving, second only to Morse. The founder, August Schrader was a creative and inventive German immigrant who originally set up a shop dealing in rubber products in New York City, NY  in 1839, only a few years after A.J. Morse set up shop in Boston .

 

In 1845 he began supplying fittings and valves for rubber products made by the Goodyear Brothers. Schrader was also a maker of daguerreotype apparatus. His original shop was at 115 John Street in Manhattan,  NY . Shortly thereafter he went into partnership with Christian Baecher. Christian was a brass turner and finisher which provided a foundation for what followed.

 

The two partners, having watched divers at work at a nearby New York Harbor jetty, decided to improve the diving helmets in use at the time. In 1849, with the help of Baecher, he created a new copper helmet. Later his interest in diving led to him to design an air pump.

Around 1890, August Schrader saw the need for a bicycle tire valve. By 1891, he produced the Schrader valve. The Schrader valve was his most popular invention, and is still used today.

 

In 1917, the United States Bureau of Construction & Repair introduced the MK V helmet and dress, which then became the standard for US Navy diving until the introduction of the MK 12 in the late nineteen seventies. Schrader and Morse Diving were the two original suppliers.

During the onslaught of World War Two only Morse and Schrader were making dive helmets for the navy. Desco and Miller-Dunn went into production around 1943. In total only about 7,000 MK V helmets were produced by all four companies during the war years with DESCO producing the most, then Morse, Schrader and Miller-Dunn. The scarcity of the latter two are the reason they command a higher price in the market. 

BRIEF HISTORY of NAVY MK V DEEP SEA DIVING DRESS:
 
By 1915, the Bureau of Construction and Repair had designed the MK V Diving Helmet which seemed to address many of the problems encountered in diving. This deep-sea outfit was designed for extensive, rugged diving work and provided the diver maximum physical protection and some maneuverability.
 
The 1915 MK V Diving Helmet had an elbow inlet with a safety valve that allowed air to enter the helmet, but not to escape back up the umbilical if the air supply were interrupted. Air was expelled from the helmet through an exhaust valve on the right side, below the port. The exhaust valve was vented toward the rear of the helmet to prevent escaping bubbles from interfering with the diver’s field of vision.
 
By 1916, several improvements had been made to the helmet, including a rudimentary communications system via a telephone cable and a regulating valve operated by an interior push button. The regulating valve allowed some control of the atmospheric pressure. A supplementary relief valve, known as the spitcock, was added to the left side of the helmet. A safety catch was also incorporated to keep the helmet attached to the breast plate. The exhaust valve and the communications system were improved by 1927, and the weight of the helmet was decreased to be more comfortable for the diver.
 
After 1927, the MK V changed very little. It remained basically the same helmet used in salvage operations of the USS S-51 and USS S-4 in the mid-1920s. With its associated deep-sea dress and umbilical, the MK V was used for all submarine rescue and salvage work undertaken in peacetime and practically all salvage work undertaken during World War II. The MK V Diving Helmet was the standard U.S. Navy diving equipment until succeeded by the MK 12 Surface-Supplied Diving helmet in February 1980, which in turn was replaced by the MK 21 in December 1993. 
SHIPPING & PACKING: The cost of shipping, packing, handling, and insurance to your destination is an additional charge. We price our shipping honestly, but we expect to be reimbursed for the nominal cost of packaging materials and handling. Within the continental United States, a helmet will generally ship for $125.00 depending on destination and amount of insurance.

OUR UNCONDITIONAL NO NONSENSE GUARANTEE: If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned, if without damage, within three days of receipt in its original packaging. Return items must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization by us for the return is required. Shipping charges within the continental United States are  included in this offer if the error is due to our fault.  

International buyers welcome, but 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, Dubai, Estonia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Martinique, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Nova Scotia, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, St. Maarten, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USVI and the Eastern Caribbean.

 

ACCEPTED FORMS OF PAYMENT are Bank wire transfer, cashier's check, or personal check in which case the item will be held until cleared. Our prices are quoted net to seller, but credit cards may be accepted through PayPal for verified members by special arrangement.

Copyright 2012 by Land And Sea Collection™, All Rights Reserved