A. J. Morse Continental Model Dive Bonnet 1945

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Morse Continental Style Bonnet image

17” H x 16 1/4” W x  16″ D     WEIGHT 30 lbs

Presented is a unique single light 12 bolt riveted diving helmet with an A. J. Morse & Sons tag. It has the number 2021 etched in a couple of places, and the helmet appears to be assembled from regular dive helmet components. The bonnet, which appears to be a Morse 24 or 31, has been riveted onto the breast plate and then soldered together. It appears to be hand done and perhaps outside a helmet manufacturing facility where more precise work would have been accomplished. The breast plate is hand hammered, and the helmet painted with a silver metallic paint. The front port window screws off, and one of the knobs on the front port window is loose.This is a very unusual helmet, and for someone looking for a helmet much out of the ordinary. It could have been made to order for someone, although there is no indication of actual use.

Right side of Continetal bonnet image Left

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.

Left Left

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.


The previous owner of these fine helmets was Pete Berdzar, a Navy diver who worked much of his career out of Point Loma and the Marshall Islands where the Navy was mothballing and disposing of ships and performing salvage operations. After active duty, he continued to be involved in Naval operations. It appears that most of his career was with the 7th Fleet in the Pacific. At one point, he was involved with a program training sealions and dolphins to retrieve ordinance and perform other duties. He also worked out of the Naval Air Weapons station at China Lake, CA, and did some flight training at Miramar. His collection of over 40 dive helmets included a number of Mark Vs, along with the ones we are offering.

INside of Morse Continental bonnet image INside of Morse Continental bonnet image

The front port screws off, and the exhaust valve wheel turns. The air passage is in the form of a single duct. The chin button is in place and functions. There is no indication that the helmet has seen any use. The number 2021 is etched on the outer ring of the front port and on the brailes. It is, in fact, a handsome piece, and possibly divable with the proper certification.
Back of the bonnet showing a circular patch image


This picture shows the back of the helmet

BRIEF HISTORY OF MORSE DIVING: In the arena of deep sea diving, there are few companies with the longevity and history of Morse Diving. The company was founded in 1837 as a Boston maker of brass ware, three years before Englishman Augustus Siebe manufactured its first closed air dive helmet. During the Civil War, the firm commenced building maritime fittings and began experimenting with early underwater hardhat designs from Siebe-Gorman and other pioneering makers. In 1864, Andrew Morse bought out his partner, introduced his sons into the business, and began to focus on creating new products for underwater salvage expeditions. In 1904, that firm became A. J. Morse and Sons, Inc., under which name it continued until 1940. Then the name Morse was re-incorporated as Morse Diving Equipment Company, Inc. Finally in 1998, the company changed owners, and became Morse Diving Inc. under the leadership of Ken & Donna Downey. New partners were added in 2014.


Maker’s Tag: A.J Morse & Son, Boston, Mass. U.S.A

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The cost of shipping, packing, handling, and insurance to your destination, will be calculated point to point and is an additional charge. You may email us to get these costs. We price our shipping honestly, but we expect to be reimbursed for the nominal cost of packaging materials and handling.

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Established in 2003

Celebrating 18 Years of Exellence in Nautical Antiques

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