as of 04/16/14








as of 04/16/14






& Viking price lists.



All current production DESCO helmets



Commercial and Pool Cleaning Masks

Light Duty Diving Outfit






DESCO Two Diver Telephone and available communications options



Third party dry suits

sold by DESCO



Composite Beat Engel Demand Helmet






Update 11-22-12 











Product warnings and

cautionary notes


General Diving Equipment




What gear it takes to dive.



What goes into making a diving helmet



Real or Replica?



Features of the various helmet models






How DESCO started



Those who built DESCO



Product Information



General product history. Catalogs, significant orders, etc.




DESCO Products



DESCO A, B, C Rebreathers Recirculating Helmets 



SCUBA Lungs, Water Skis, and Miscellaneous Water Sports Products




Magazine or News

articles related to diving.

Links to online diving videos.



DESCO company photos

and photos from our archives



Commercial Diving Photos supplied by customers



Classic equipment &

hobby diving photos



Photos of helmets from

other manufacturers



Photos of equipment in museums



Photos from some of

our repair projects



DESCO Historical Item Collection



Miscellaneous Photos, Old diver and/or equipment photos




Fittings, Tools, and Accessories

US Navy Diver's Knife        Fittings        Tools        Accessories



U.S. Navy Standard Diver's Knife


Authentic. Not a reproduction. This knife is still purchased by the U.S. Navy from DESCO.



Probably the most useful tool of all is the US Navy Divers Knife (often erroneously referred to as a Mark V knife). This knife has a Brass cylindrical sheath, a threaded hilt which allows the knife to be screwed into the sheath, and a double edged blade. The knife itself is composed of four parts, the blade, the Brass threaded hilt, the Maple handle, and the Brass handle nut. The blade is tool grade Steel with a saw tooth on one side and cutting edge on the other. The handle nut (or button nut) and hilt are machined from free cutting Brass. The handle is clear Maple and dip coated with Spar varnish.







This design was adopted by the U.S. Navy for a couple of reasons. The blades were prone to being broken when used for prying. If the handle were an integral part of the blade the entire unit would have to be discarded.  Being able to dismantle the knife permitted blade replacement  rather than scrapping all the other usable parts.


It was found by the Navy that divers often had difficulty sheathing a knife in a conventional flat sheath. This led to the knife being dropped and lost. The cylindrical sheath makes it easy to insert the knife and to lock it in place. With this method the knife is rotated a third of a turn and it seats into the sheath.


The sheath is a Red Brass casting. It is fitted with a leather belt which is looped around the waist strap of the diver's weightbelt. There is a drain hole in the bottom of the sheath to allow water in to maintain negative buoyancy, and to let the water back out on the surface.


The DESCO U. S. Navy Diver's Knife is made according to USN specifications currently in effect. It has been in constant production since we began war production in 1942. The basic design has been unchanged since 1927. The Navy changed the drawing number in 1947. These are the plans we still use to make the Diver's Knife.









Fittings and valves of various sizes and types are necessary to supply breathing gas to the diver. The U.S. Navy standard hose in WWII was 1/2" I.D. with 1 1/16" - 17 threads. This standard was adopted by commercial diving as surplus government equipment found its way to civilian use. Low volume helmets can function well with a 3/8" I.D. hose and the fittings are usually 9/16" - 18 Oxygen (O2) fittings or JIC. The Air Hat uses the O2 fitting. Valves to control airflow, number of divers, and mixed gas are still used.




29003           Valve, Air Control U.S. Navy Type                                                                                                                       

21240           Manifold Three Way                                                                                           

29039           Valve, U. S. Navy Non-Return                                                                              

23144           Valve Adapter, Helium Helmet/Air Control Valve                                      

59091           Valve. Non-Return Mask & Air Hat



USN Air Control Valve         3 Way Manifold                Helium Adapter  




 Navy Non-Return Valve        Air Hat & Mask Non Return Valve



Adapters & Fittings 


23031           Adapter, Chinese Air Inlet to Navy Air hose                                                      

23057           Adapter, Chinese Air Inlet to O2 Male                                                                                                                                

29128           Adapter, Female Navy x O2 Male                                                                            

29129           Adapter, Male Navy x O2 Female                                                                            

29130F         Adapter, Hose Barb to O2 Female Fitting                                                             

29130M        Adapter, Hose Barb to O2 Male Fitting                                                               

29289           Adapter, NPT Female x 1 1/16 17 NS                                                           

29390           Adapter, Female Navy x JIC 6                                                                                 

29192           Coupling, Double Female Navy to Navy

23125           Coupling, Double Male Navy to Navy

23064           Fitting, Double-Barbed Hose Splicer Hose                                                                     

23065           Fitting, Air Hose, Female Navy Hose                                                                  

23066           Fitting, Air Hose, Male Navy Hose                                                                                                                                                       

29210           Fitting, Male Navy x O2 Male                                                                                   

61355           Fitting, Female O2 Nut w/Barb for 3/8 I.D. Hose                                                      

61356           Fitting, Male O2 x NPT Male                                                                                         

61357           Fitting, Double Male O2 Coupling                                                                                                          

61358           Fitting, O2 Male x 1/2  NPT Male                                                                            

61359           Fitting, Hose Splicer                                                                                              

61260           Fitting, 3/8 Hose Splicer                                                                                            

23005           Reducer S                                                                                                             

23002           Reducer T                                                                                                              

23126           Reducer M 1 1/16- 17 Male to NPT Male                                           





Abbreviations for fittings below:

M = Male thread, F = Female thread, Navy = 1 1/16" - 17 thread, O2 = 9/16" - 18 thread



F Navy to M O2          F Navy to F O2               F Navy to JIC      M Navy to F O2      M Navy to M O2




    T Reducer                  S Reducer                M Reducer




Double Male Coupling       Double Female Coupling   


Adapters for foreign helmets.



F Russian         F Chinese        F Chinese              F Chinese

to M Navy      to M Navy         to F O2                       to M O2



Hose Fittings



       F Navy to1/2" Hose End       M Navy to 1/2" Hose End       Double 1/2" Hose Barb






59061F         Jetting Nozzle                                                                                                          

59099           Jetting Nozzle Hose Adapter (2 NSTF x 2 NPSM)                                       


  Jetting Nozzle





Tools include wingnut wrenches (Navy, Sponge & Morse type), Helium helmet canister wrench, T Slot wrench for old style Navy Non-return valves, and a tool bag.



    Wing Nut Wrench       Wing Nut Wrench      Wing Nut Wrench          T Slot Wrench      Canister Wrench      Tool Bag

             Navy                         Sponge                    Morse type









Diver's Shoes provide additional ballast weight to the diver where it can be of the most benefit. With a classic heavy diving outfit the dress (suit) does not form fit the diver. There is excess room in the dress which can be inflated to adjust the diver's buoyancy. If a diver should become inverted air pressure will build in the lower torso and legs of the dress and cannot be vented. The diver will blow up (suit balloons out) and shoot to the surface. A rapid uncontrolled ascent will usually cause a case of the bends. Having weight low on the diver reduces the chances of the diver inverting. The soles also give the diver better traction on the bottom.


Standard Divers Shoes



    Lightweight             Heavyweight


Diver's Shoes are made with a cast Brass sole or a cast Lead sole. A Maple inner sole is bolted to the metal sole. The upper is screwed and tacked to the Maple sole. Originally the uppers were leather or heavy canvas. Standard DESCO shoes have a Cordura upper. A cast Brass toe cap protects the diver's feet and adds additional weight. The shoes are laced with heavy sash cord and a strap. Lightweight shoes weight approximately 25lbs. per pair, while the Heavyweight shoes weigh approximately 40lbs per pair.



Lightweight Shoes with Rubber Over Soles



Awhile back a U.S. Navy diver contacted us with a request. There was a problem with the Brass shoe soles damaging the non-skid deck surfaces on the ships they work from. He asked if we could develop a rubber over sole for the shoes. After trying a few different adhesives we hit upon a combination that works well. The diver reported to us they are getting about 300 dives out of a pair of rubber soles before they are worn out enough to require replacement. The rubber over soles are only available on the Brass soles.



White Canvas Shoes



We offer the shoes in a white canvas upper for diving enthusiasts looking for a more historically accurate look. They are available in either light or heavy weights.


Leather Shoes



Originally divers shoe uppers were made of leather. During World War II canvas uppers became standard as they were quicker and easier to produce, and were less expensive. Because of requests by classic equipment enthusiasts DESCO has reintroduced leather shoes to our catalog. Our leather subcontractor is making them available to us in leather colors he stocks. The historically correct color is Black. Color choices are Black, Brown, or Tan.


DESCO Diving Shoes

29077          Shoes, Diving, U.S. Navy, Heavyweight (Cordura Uppers)                                     

29077C        Shoes, Diving, U.S. Navy, Heavyweight (White Canvas Uppers)                            

29077L        Shoes, Diving, U.S. Navy, Heavyweight (Leather Uppers)                                    

29078          Shoes, Diving, U.S. Navy, Lightweight (Cordura Uppers)                                       

29078C        Shoes, Diving, U.S. Navy, Lightweight (White Canvas Uppers)                            

29078L        Shoes, Diving, U.S. Navy, Lightweight (Leather Uppers)                                        

29078RS      Shoes, Diving, U.S. Navy, Lightweight w/ Rubber Over Soles (Cordura Uppers)         





A diver in heavy gear not only needs to be negatively buoyant enough to sink, but also to be able to remain in place at a jobsite, or walk along the bottom. The helmet and dress (with modest inflation) will displace enough water to make the diver float. The shoes pictured above alone can't provide enough weight to weigh down the diver enough. Weights attached to a belt add the needed additional ballast.


   U.S. Navy Heavy Weightbelt      Quick Release Weightbelt


Originally weightbelts were made from leather. Over time the leather would soften and wear till the belt became unusable. Newer belts are made from 5 ply reinforced rubber belting material which is very similar to the conveyor belts in grocery store checkout lanes. It is very strong and moisture resistant. These belts stand up much longer than the old leather ones. The front and back weights on Navy & commercial style belts are fitted with loops and buckles for shoulder straps. The "blank" weights can be removed to set the weight of the belt when less than the full weight is needed. Heavyweight belts have a double buckle setup for fastening around the waist, while the Lightweight belt uses a quick release buckle.


DESCO Pocket Weightbelt

The pocket weightbelt is a variation of a belt invented during the war. At that time Navy divers would use rifle cartridge belts with lead weights inserted into the cartridge clip pockets. DESCO's pocket weightbelt is a purpose made belt derived from that idea.




Additional Accessories



                       Cuff Rings                                 Cuff Expanders                                              Rubber Cuffs


The cuff items above facilitate making a watertight seal at the diver's wrists. The rubber cuffs are glued to the ends of the dress sleeves and are designed to squeeze around the diver's wrists. Naturally this constriction makes getting the diver's hands through them to dress and undress difficult. The Cuff Expanders slide in on either side of the cuff opening and allow the tender to spread the cuff. Cuff rings allow for the attachment and removal of gloves or mitts without permanently gluing them on.





Dress Clamp      Helmet Cushion         Hand Light


The dress clamp was originally used to close the lightweight back entry dress. It found a second life as a tool to aid in making loops in towing hawsers.  A U.S. Coast Guardsman came across one in a antique shop and purchased it for this purpose. It worked so well others began to buy them.


The helmet cushion is worn under the dress collar to pad the diver's shoulders from the breastplate.


The Diver's Hand Light is a hand made waterproof flashlight made of all Brass. Having been superceded by smaller, lighter, and brighter light sources it still is desired for its classic historical look.







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