RARE 1943 SCHRADER U.S. NAVY MK V DIVING HELMETUS Navy Inspection Stamps
Schrader was one of the very low-volume producers of Navy MK V’s
during WW II making this helmet highly collectable</st
TOTAL WEIGHT 52 lbs BONNET 30.5 lbs
BREAST PLATE 21.5 lbsSTAND NOT INCLUDED Presented is an exceptional MK V helmet made for the U.S. Navy. It is an authentic 12
bolt, 4 light Schrader Navy MK V dated 12-43 with serial number 1208 B on the maker’s tag and number 1266
on the inside neck ring of the bonnet. All the brails are marked 1208B. The helmet has about 98% of its original tinning
which accounts for its dark grey patina. The brass work has been recently polished and provides an interesting contrast. The
result is a dramatic work of diving and industrial art. There are many small dents, dings , and dimples over
the bonnet, but few on the breastplate.
PROVENANCE: From the Palm Beach, Florida Estate of a WWII Naval Officer who flew off carriers
in the Pacific Theater of Operations. The heir remembers it being in his parent’s home for as long as he can remember
so we estimate it was in the family’s collection for more than the past 60 years.
CONDITION and MARKINGS:
The number 1208B appears on the bottom of each brail (strap), and on
the maker’s tag which is date stamped 12-43. The inside neck ring of the helmet is stamped1266. The air vents are
all intact. The right side chin relief valve, spit cock handle, and front door wing nut, all turn easily. Missing are the telephone
receiver from its housing and the cap for the communication elbow. The cotter pin for the dumbbell lock is in
place. The number 1275 is imprinted on the exterior telephone cup which also carries the Naval Inspection stamp
of “U anchor S”.The same mark also appears on the non-return valve which also carries Schrader
The USA. 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.
inspector’s mark Interior
& Vents All brails numbered
WE ALSO HAVE A 1951 SCHRADER BONNET FOR SALE. CLICK
SCROLL WAY DOWN TO THE GALLERY TO SEE MORE PICTURES
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 is
the reason they command a higher price in the market.
BRIEF HISTORY of NAVY MK V DEEP SEA DIVING DRESS:
By 1905, 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 with maximum physical protection and some maneuverability.
The 1905 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 breastplate. 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 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
In February 1980 the MK 12 was replaced by the MK 21 in December 1993.
For a more definitive history see Jim Boyd’s and Leslie Leaney’s dissertation. Click http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Rapids/3435/histmkv.html