US Navy Inspection Stamp
was one of the original maker’s of Navy MK V’s during WW II.
This one was Owned by a Navy Diver
and in a private collection for last 15 years
WEIGHT: 51 lbs BONNET: 29 lbs BREAST PLATE: 22 lbs
SERIAL NUMBER: 1578B DATE: 3 1944
STAND NOT INCLUDED
2012 by Land And Sea Collection™, All Rights Reserved
is a Schrader U.S. Navy MK V helmet that was made in the middle of WW II. Much of its history is known making it
one of the few which was later owned by the individual that used it during the time he worked as a Navy diver at the
Philadelphia Navy Yard. It also has a very appealing Rose color which was only found in some Schrader helmets.
Due to the Rose
colored copper used in its construction it has an unusual and very dramatic appearance which makes it an exceptional
work of diving and American industrial art
Navy inspector’s mark on cup
Inside of bonnet showing
of breast plate
the position of the star wheel, and the spit cockPROVENANCE:
It was made in 1944 and presumably shipped directly to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. It saw service in the regular ship yard
repair activities until the early 1980’s when an order came down throughout the Navy diving commands to destroy all the
MK V helmets in their possession. As a general practice, the various superintendents of diving allowed each of their
divers to take one helmet, and at that time it became the property of a Navy certified Class 1 Diver who was said to
have used it in his work. When the diver retired from the Navy, he started a commercial diving operation and rented space in the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
He operated this business until about sixteen years ago when he was told he had cancer. The most recent owner
of this helmet knew the man, and purchased this helmet about that time and has had it ever since. He says that the diver
was interested in accumulating cash for his wife. About a year later, the diver passed on. An auction was held and all
the remaining things were sold.
HELMET & MARKINGS: Authentic 12 bolt, 4
light Schrader Navy MK V dated 3-44 with serial number 1578B on the maker’s tag and on all the brails. The brails
are also marked, front and back. The bonnet’s inside neck ring is marked 186. The U.S. Navy inspectors stamp is on the
top portion of the speaker housing.
CONDITION: Considering its
68 years age and use, it is in remarkably fine condition overall. There are very few dents or abrasions, only one of
which is a shallow one, right at the top. The air vents are all intact.The right side chin relief valve, spit cock
handle, front door wing nut, all turn easily. No speaker is fitted.The dumb bell lock and fittings are in place.
The telephone cup carries a Naval Inspection stamp of “U anchor S”. One of the
very nice things about this helmet is the Rose color copper that was indigenous to Schrader and gives it a very special look.
This was enhanced some time ago when it was cleaned, inside and out, by sand blasting.
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.
view showing dumbbell lock
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 rubber115 John Street
products made by the Goodyear Brothers. Schrader was also a maker of daguerreotype apparatus. His original shop was at
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 are the reason they command a higher price in the market.
BRIEF 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 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 helmet in February 1980, which in turn was replaced by the MK 21 in December 1993.