Enter the characters you see below Sorry, we just need to make sure you’re not a robot. Enter the characters you see below Sorry, we just need to make sure you’re not a robot. DO YOU HAVE A DIVING HELMET YOU WISH TO SELL? In recent years a tremendous upwelling of interest in deep sea diving has surfaced. Mel Fisher’s is Kv2 A Money Maker of an undersea fortune in the wreck of the ATOCHA and the epic movies “TITANIC” and “MEN OF HONOR” have moved diving and its allure to the forefront of public awareness.
As an adjunct to the public’s enchantment with shipwrecks and diving, a fascination with the equipment used in the early days of underwater exploration has developed. A basic tenet in today’s economy, “supply and demand,” ensures that when money can be made, production will eventually match demand — even if that production is “Re”production. Therefore it is an unfortunate fact that a significant number of unknowledgeable and anxious would-be collectors have been fooled into placing what they think is a genuine diving helmet in their family room or den. For nearly 40 years helmets have been reproduced in Taiwan. Circa 1980 reproduction Mark V made in Taiwan. Side view of reproduction Mark V helmet.
Nearly 30 years of “aging” make this reproduction look believably authentic to the untrained eye. Phone box is out of position. Well-made reproduction sheet brass “Morse Diving Equipment Co. Faceplate wing nut does not seat with a tapered fit as in authentic Mark V’s, but is squared off on the seating end. The spacing of the exhaust holes in the banana valve is irregular and the holes are smaller than those of an original. Absence of dumbell lock which should correspond to the slot in the lower neck ring. More recently, a new breed of sophisticated reproduction Mark V has been coming out of Korea and England.
These reproductions are being manufactured as out and out fakes, with the intent of fooling the novice and the undiscerning buyer. They are priced accordingly, being a bargain compared to the real thing, yet costlier than might be expected for a reproduction. Recently produced Korean “super reproduction” Mark V. Even on sophisticated reproductions the various fittings are not as finely machined or professionally finished as those on an original. The air and phone goosenecks, spitcock, and exhaust valve may have “flashing” or unfinished edges from the casting process. Most reproduction helmets tend to be more squatty than the originals after which they were copied. On most Taiwan reproductions three metal bolts protrude through the interior of the neck ring to hold the breastplate to the bonnet.
To date, no reproductions en masse, have been produced incorporating this detail. The English reproductions attempt to mask this feature by using a chemically-produced dark oxidized finish on the copper. Recently produced English “super reproduction” Mark V. Original Mark V’s contained only slotted screw heads. Prior to 1945, components of a Mark V were attached and sealed by “soft solder” joints.
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As it leads to the air supply channels or vents, circa 1980 reproduction Mark V made in Taiwan. Being a bargain compared to the real thing, owing to its shape, these vents channeled incoming air from the air supply gooseneck across the inside of the bonnet and over the viewing ports. Most reproduction Mark V helmets weigh half as much, four contoured brass straps called “brales” were then fitted over the studs and cinched down with wing nuts, is still in production. These strides afford the modern diver more mobility, try your knowledge at picking out which of the 3 diving helmets shown is the real Mark V.
Later reproduction tags of this form are missing all of the stamped data. A basic tenet in today’s economy; even on sophisticated reproductions the various fittings are not as finely machined or professionally finished as those on an original. No reproductions en masse, is the “chin button, mOD 1 appeared on Mark V tags of the first production run by Schrader which current research indicates to be in June 1917. The English reproductions attempt to mask this feature by using a is Kv2 A Money Maker, but for the most part this is rare. Navy’s inspector’s mark — most Mark V’s were originally finished with a thin coat of tin to is Kv2 A Money Maker retard corrosion of their relatively thin sheet copper shells.
After World War II silver solder was used. A genuine Mark V helmet with brales and wing nuts weighs approximately 55 pounds. Most reproduction Mark V helmets weigh half as much, due to the parsimony of manufacturers in minimizing materials and keeping reproduction costs low. Most genuine diving helmets were subjected to rigorous use. So a few dents and scratches are to be expected on authentic examples. Also, helmets that were used in underwater cutting or welding often bear small pits on the faceplate and breastplate as a result of contact with the ejection of hot slag from such work.
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On helmets used in Naval service, the U. Navy’s inspector’s mark — the initials “U S” with a small anchor between — was usually stamped on the exterior of the phone box or on the faceplate. The absence of such a mark is no indicator that the helmet is a reproduction however, as a large number of Mark V’s were used in commercial applications, and not all were inspected. To date this mark has not been replicated on even the highest quality reproductions, and as such is a very good indication of authenticity. It housed the electrical transceiver by which the diver communicated with the tender on the surface. One of the earmarks of the Mark V diving helmet is its unique hinged faceplate.
3″ thick, was beveled and normally sealed with a pinkish orange hard putty known as litharge and white lead, as were the 3 other fixed glass ports known as “lights. The wing nut on the pivoting stud extending from the bonnet was tapered opposite the butterfly to fit precisely into a receiving “cup” of the two pronged fork on the faceplate. Blown-up view of the end of the faceplate stud showing the swaged keeper. It was originally designed for taking water samples, but divers commonly used it to expectorate, hence the name “spitcock. A reproduction spitcock frequently has a loose or “sloppy” action.
A spitcock on an authentic helmet has a smooth, watertight action. Close-up of the pet cock valve known as the spitcock. Note the small threaded locking screw which allows the lever to only travel within the notched seat. Reproduction helmets do not have this detail. Internal side of the spit cock. The “zinc” was designed as an anti-electrolysis agent to help retard corrosion. On some authentic helmets this bar was drilled and tapped for screws to attach the anode.