Vintage SNEAD
Shallow Water Dive Helmet
Complete

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SNEAD SHALLOW WATER  DIVING HELMET

STYLE 2

Front view of Snead dive helmet image

DIMENSIONS OF HELMET: 21 3/4” H x 11 1/2” W  x 11 1/2” D  
WEIGHT 56  pounds

 

Presented is a Snead shallow water helmet of the style that became the most popular of this
company’s four styles. It is in its near original condition, and has only the scrapes and blemishes
of its years of underwater service, but its overall silver finish is in excellent condition. The helmet is cast in one
piece of corrosion resistant iron, and was originally painted yellow. It has a single large front port light which
is a recent replacement. In the rear, behind the handle is a small screw bicycle tire type fitting which accepts a hose from
a bicycle air pump.
 

According to the company, this system was effective
in shallow water up to 18 feet. It was used for underwater work on vessel’s bottoms and in various forms of under water
light construction. 

Three quarter view of Snead helmet image

Like all vintage dive helmets,
it is being offered for display only, and should not be used for any other purpose unless certified by a competent diving
shop.
 

PROVENANCE:
From the estate of a second generation hard hat diver, and the son of a member of the salvage team of the
17 month project to refloat the French ocean liner Normandie on the Hudson River that completed in 1947. Not only did the
deceased have an incredible hard helmet and diving equipment collection, he also, in his lifetime, managed to assemble an
amazing collection of anything related to diving.

 The features for the
Style 2, as recommended by Dr. William Beebe, esteemed deep sea diver, include:

  • Air intake placed in back of top to remove draft
    of air on face

  • A baffle
    plate cast in top to deflect air stream in such a manner as to prevent fogging

  • Shoulder support widened so as to be more comfortable

  • Center of gravity lowered so as to rest more securely

  • Lower portion widened and deepened so as to be more
    comfortable

  • Vision plate has been raised so as to give
    larger field of vision

Inside of Snead helmet image
Imprint on top of Snead helmet image

The arrow points to printing on the top of
the helmet which has been painted over.  We think it maybe “ELIRO”.

HISTORY OF SNEAD: Little is known of
this single style dive helmet manufacturer other then Snead helmets were made in Jersey City, New Jersey from
as far back as the early 1900’s until around 1940. They are made of corrosion resistant cast iron and weigh about 60
pounds depending on style. Over the years, four models were made the last of which was cast in bronze and weighed 71 pounds.
 

 CONDITION and MARKINGS:  Being
made of cast iron, it is indestructible except for it plastic face plate which is frequently missing. This one has a
newly replaced lens. This helmet, except for some scuffing of it silver paint, looks like when it was last
dived. The helmet has not been pressure tested. Cast on the chest, SNEAD. Co., Jersey City, NJ, Pat. Pending. At the
top is a name that has been painted over as seen in the picture above.

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Established in 2003

Celebrating 18 Years of Exellence in Nautical Antiques