WW II U.S. NAVY MK V DIVING HELMET
STANDUS Navy Inspection Stamp
Schrader was one of the original maker’s of Navy
MK V’s during WW II. Owned Since the 1970’s by a private party!
53 lbs BONNET: 31 lbs BREAST PLATE: 22 lbs SERIAL NUMBER: 705 A DATE: Oct– 1942
STAND NOT INCLUDED
is a high quality U.S. Navy MK V helmet made by Schrader in 1942. It has just come on the market due to a move and down sizing
by the former long term owner. He said that it was discovered in one of his trawler’s nets on Long Island
Sound between the Connecticut River (New London Sub Base) and Block Island sometime during the 1970’s.
HELMET MARKINGS: Authentic 12 bolt, 4 light Schrader Navy MK V dated Oct 1942 with serial number 705 A on
the maker’s tag. The bonnet is stamped on the inside
front neck ring with the numbers 8348. These numbers appear no where else. All
the brails are unmarked. There is the Navy Inspectors mark of a “U anchor S” on the top of the speaker housing’s
Name tag on 1942 Schrader Navy MK V dive helmet Maker’s tag shown
over neck ring numbers and the US Navy Inspector’s stamp on cup
Considering it’s 74 year age and Navy use, it is in very good condition overall. Note the extra communication elbow.
The one in the center back is not wired. The other comm elbow appears to be complete. A cap is fitted to the air supply and
central comm elbow. There are numerous small and a few larger dents and abrasions all over the bonnet showing its years
of use. Ten percent of the original tinning on the bonnet remains in front and 60% in the rear between the three elbows.
Most of the tinning on the front and back of the breast plate is worn off. 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 the comm elbow has a nut. 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.
Right side of 1942 Schrader Navy MK V dive helmet image.
Left and Right side of the helmet.
The back of
the helmet shows remaining tinning and caps on two elbows
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.
Bottom: Inside of the breast plate
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
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 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.
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 salvagework undertaken in peacetime and practically all salvage work undertaken during World War II. The MK V Diving Helmet was thestandard 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.