There is quite a bit of confusion as to what the
bar is on most WW II Navy MK V dive helmets’ left side between the front and
side port. Many highly knowledgeable old time divers and numerous collectors of
vintage MK V dive helmets refer to it as an “Anode Bar” under the mistaken
belief that this was its intended use so we thought this analysis would be
helpful to all that are interested in the history of the Navy MK V dive
is the story
behind this bar which was specified by the Navy for mounting the Welder’s Lens
in the specifications that were up-dated in April 1942.
MOUNTING BAR HISTORY: The original 1915 Military
Specifications did not include a welding lens for the MK V helmet. Hence the two
original makers did not always include a bar to mount it on for the MK V’s they
made in the early years, and it was not shown in the plans relating to that
date. However, some helmets were ordered
with the bar prior to WW
II, so it is not an iron fast rule that all early helmets did not have the bar.
For example, here is a 1918 Schrader MK V with the Lens Bar. There does seem to
be a preponderance of early helmets that had a thinner bar than you will see on
those made to the 1942 specifications.
1918 Schrader MK V without Welder’s Lens mounting bar
For details on this 1918
Schrader MK V helmet click here
The Mil-Spec’s introduced in April 1942 had
the complete specifications which included the swing out lens that went over the
face plate, and a clip on the bar between the front port and the side port,
which is frequently but incorrectly referred to as the Anode Bar. This is
correctly called the “Welder’s Lens Bar”.
Before welding, the lens was in the open
position, and held there by the clip on this bar which is what it is for. There
also are certain clips that mount where the front guard normally would be to
hold the Welder’s Lens in place in the closed position. Four of the following
pictures show this procedure.
The Welder’s Lens
clip mounted on the
Welder’s Lens in open position.
MILLER-DUNN MK V HELMETS: You would expect to find the Welder’s Bar on
all DESCO and Miller-Dunn helmets because they use the 1942 Specs when they
started production and this is what we found to be true. However, there
certainly may be exceptions to the rule if a helmet was ordered without the clip
or if one was taken off when in use.
Clip mounted on DESCO MK V Face Plate
MORSE may not have made the change immediately as we have recently
discovered since some of the bonnets they used were based on the original
Morse MK V without the Welder’s bar
For details on this 1942 Morse Navy MK V helmet click here
Schrader Navy MK V with Welder’s
For details on this
1942 Schrader Navy MK V helmet see http://landandseacollection.com/id725.html
CONTEMPORARY NAVY MK V DIVE HELMETS are still
being made by both DESCO, INC of Milwaukee, WI, and Morse Diving of Rockland,
DESCO sells the MK V Welders Lens Cap and clips and Morse sells the lens cap.
Ric Koellner of DESCO Corporation, the Milwaukee based
diving helmet manufacturer, set us on the right course.
JOEL HARRY JACOBS,
Land And Sea
2287 SW Brookwood
Palm City, FL