1945 DIVING EQUIPMENT &
(LATER KNOWN AS DESCO)
BROWNE SPONGE DIVING
Presented is a Browne Sponge Diver Helmet. This helmet, constructed by the Diving Equipment & Supply Co., Inc., (later known as DESCO in 1945), was specifically made for Pete Berdzar. The date on the helmet is actually Pete’s Birth date. The other numbers appear to have been significant to Pete as well, but we don’t know what they represent.
Dimensions:18″ Ht x 16″ L x 11 ½” W Weight: 31.5 Lbs.
Close up of the maker’s tag
CONDITION: It is in like new condition overall. We surmise that it might not have been put in use, but we dont know that for sure. Before use, it needs to be thoroughly inspected by a certified dive shop. Visually it makes a striking appearance and will be an excellent addition to any dive helmet collection.
the helmet’s front from the left and right oblique
Like all diving gear we offer, this is being sold for DISPLAY ONLY. It should not be dived without having passed inspection by a certified dive shop.
Three quarter views of both the back sides
of the 1945 DESCO helmet
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 1945 bonnet showing underside of breast plate
BRIEF HISTORY of DESCO: Desco has an extensive history within the commercial diving community. Diving Equipment & Supply Company (DESCO) was formed in 1937 as the manufacturer of the newly designed diving equipment by Max Nohl and Jack Browne. World War II shifted the focus of the company to standard diving equipment production. The war effort brought large Navy contracts for diving equipment to DESCO. The company quickly became the largest diving equipment manufacturer in the world. Four diving equipment firms produced the bulk of equipment during the war. DESCO made over 3000 Mark V and Navy Helium Helmets during this period. In 1997,DESCO was purchased from Mr. Fifield by Richard Koellner. Under Mr. Koellner, the company has expanded its representation of other firm’s products that complement DESCO’s product line. Here is the link to read the full history of this fine company: https://www.divedesco.com/divingequipment/CompanyHistory