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as of 04/16/14

 

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sold by DESCO

 

DEEPSEA B-2 HELMET

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Update 11-22-12 

 

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 Information

 

SURFACE SUPPLIED DIVING

What gear it takes to dive.

 

HELMET CONSTRUCTION

What goes into making a diving helmet

 

HELMET IDENTIFICATION

Real or Replica?

 

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Features of the various helmet models

 


 Company

History

 

COMPANY HISTORY

How DESCO started

 

DESCO PEOPLE

Those who built DESCO

 


Historical

Product Information

 

DESCO PRODUCT HISTORY

General product history. Catalogs, significant orders, etc.

 

OLD EQUIPMENT

Discontinued

DESCO Products

 

MIXED GAS & REBREATHERS

DESCO A, B, C Rebreathers Recirculating Helmets 

 

DESCO SPORTING GOODS

SCUBA Lungs, Water Skis, and Miscellaneous Water Sports Products


Galleries

 

MEDIA

Magazine or News

articles related to diving.

Links to online diving videos.

 

GALLERY 1

DESCO company photos

and photos from our archives

 

GALLERY 2

Commercial Diving Photos supplied by customers

 

GALLERY 3

Classic equipment &

hobby diving photos

 

GALLERY 4

Photos of helmets from

other manufacturers

 

GALLERY 5

Photos of equipment in museums

 

GALLERY 6

Photos from some of

our repair projects

 

GALLERY 7

DESCO Historical Item Collection

 

GALLERY 8

Miscellaneous Photos, Old diver and/or equipment photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gallery 7

DESCO's Collection of  Historical and Other Stuff

 


Our Helmet Collection    Other DESCO Diving Equipment    Miscellaneous Items    Our "Other DESCO's" Collection


Over the decades we have accumulated a collection of items relating to diving, relating to Milwaukee, relating to history, and some stuff we don't know why we have it. We just completed setting up a new display room. Since we moved to the third floor our display area was next to the lunch table in the office. A unused office was made into the new display room.

 

 

Our Helmet Collection

This collection of helmets and helmet components covers DESCO products and items from other manufacturers.

    

 

 

 

DESCO Mark V Serial Number 1/2

 

This is our cutaway half helmet. It is much lighter but prone to leak. Window fogging is not much of a problem.

 

      

 

 

 

 

Our demo unit has been around forever. The tag is dated 2-95 but that was just when we dated the tag and added the serial number. It gives an interesting view out the window.

 

 

 

DESCO Mark V 3038

 

   

 

 

Click here to see the letter Dr. Davis provided with the helmet

 

We acquired this helmet from a retired physician, Gerald Davis MD, He had it on display in his office for many years. It has been modified with a commercial style front window.

 

 

 

Stillson Concept Helmet 001

 

      

           

 

The Stillson Concept Helmet is DESCO's attempt to actually make the helmet shown on the cover of the 1915 Diving Report by G. D. Stillson for the U.S. Navy. As many standard DESCO parts were used as possible but many pieces required heavy modification. Some interpretation and guesswork were required but the result was a interesting and unique helmet.

 

 

 

USS Squalus Commemorative Helium Diving Helmet Number 00

 

 

 

 

DESCO made twenty six 70th Anniversary USS Squalus Salvage Helium Helmets for the Historical Diving Society. A 27th helmet is the prototype made for DESCO's helmet collection. The company which produced the Sterling Silver tags made a prototype tag numbered 00. We decided to build a helmet for this tag instead of mounting to a wood base like the other special tags. It was made after the 26 helmets were completed. When production started on the series extra of the HEO2 specific parts were ordered. As construction commenced the parts were inspected and the best of the lot were used. To build 00 we used the remaining parts, which may have had visible imperfections (porosity or deep imperfections)  which on production helmets would be acceptable as industry standard but would disqualified them for the run of collector helmets, where visual quality is equally important as function. 00 also differs in that it is high polished instead of Navy standard Tin plating which was done on the 26.

 

This helmet is dedicated to the divers and salvage ship crews who recovered the survivors and her victims, then brought her home to sail again.

 

 

Kirby Recirculator Conversions of DESCO Sponge Helmets

 

 

In his book " Hard Hat Divers Wear Dresses" Bob Kirby says he made six of these helmets on DESCO Sponge helmets. He moved over to Yokohama helmets for subsequent units. The helmets we have are DESCO s/n 1043, and DESCO s/n 1084. We think 1043 may be the first one of the six. Bob describes the evolution of the helmets in the book and the description of the first one fits 1043.

 

 

       

Bob Kirby Recirculator Helmet on DESCO Sponge 1043

 

 

     

Bob Kirby Recirculator Helmet on DESCO Sponge 1084

 

The big differences between 1043 and 1084 are in the windows and the recirculating system.

 

1043 still has the Sponge type windows with the screw rim holding the light in place. 1084 has 1" thick windows which screw directly into the base.

 

1043's recirculator is patterned off of the Navy Helium helmet. The gas is pushed through the absorbent canister via the high pressure jet. In 1084 the flow is reversed to draw the gas into the canister.

 

 

 

Early Buie Mixed Gas Helmet

 

 

U.S. Navy diver E.D. Buie came to DESCO to work on a low volume mixed gas helmet for the Navy to use clearing mines. The first low volume mixed gas helmets had a curved window like this one. Later models have a three facet flat pane window.  The canister is much smaller than the Mark V Helium canister and in fact the whole helmet weighed less than half of the Mark V Helium (104lbs to 43lbs). DESCO was lucky enough to acquire this early helmet for our collection. It was missing the canister but we fortunately had the patterns for the end caps and were able to make one. It is incomplete but is good enough for display purposes.

 

 

DESCO Air Hat Prototypes

 

             Prototype 1                                 Prototype 2                                Prototype 3                                 Prototype 4

 

When Mr. Fifield developed the air hat it went through several stages. The most notable evolution is in the snout.

 

 

Other Manufacturers Helmets we have.

 

Morse Shallow Water Helmet

 

 

This helmet was given to us by collector Carlos Dominguez incomplete. The body of it was in good condition. We replaced the missing parts and put it in our collection. We keep it around largely because we have fond memories of Carlos. Some of the wildest custom projects we did were children of his mind.

 

 

Chinese Diving Helmets

 

        

Chinese TF 3                                 Chinese TF 12

 

We purchased these two helmets during the import craze of the 1990's when they were flooding the market. We purchased a TF 3 (three bolt) and a TF 12 (twelve bolt).

 

 

 

 

 

     

TF 12 before modification

 

 

Ric and Christian decided the TF 12 needed a facelift. We have done a few conversions of TF 12s. Ours was done to demonstrate and market this capability. It now has Commercial side windows set vertically, a spring lock, small telephone cup, and the plastic front guard was replaced with a Mark V Brass guard.

 

TF 12 after modifications

 

 

 

 

 

Aqua Bell

 

 

At one time our closest competitor (geographically). Aqua Bell was made in Windsor WI. The yellow collar was filled with sand for weight. Air was fed into the helmet via a nipple molded in as part of the shell. Air fed through clear vinyl tubing from a bellows foot pump. For some reason the government determined they were dangerous and had them pulled off the market.

 

 

Dive Dynamics Breastplates

 

 

These fiberglass breastplates were made by Dive Dynamics for the Aquadyne AH helmets. The Orange one is a Sponge pattern, and the Blue is a Navy pattern.

 

 


 

Other DESCO Diving Equipment

 

     A-Lung Rebreather                                  B- Lung Rebreathers

 

 

The  A Lung, also known as the Adventurer, and the Sportster Lung. This unit was designed in the early 1950's. It was a simpler, more compact design than the B-Lung. The unit evolved during its short run. Early units had a canvas breather bag, while later units had a vinyl bag. The A-Lungs were only produced for a few years in the mid-50's.

 

The B Lung, also known as the Buccaneer Lung. This is the unit first developed for the OSS and U.S. Navy during WWII. The first units used a oval mask with a nose bump out. Later units were fitted with a modified Jack Browne mask. B-Lungs were produced until the early 1960's. On the 1960 DESCO pricelist the B-Lung cost $205.00. We are fortunate to have a early and a late version of the B Lung in our collection. Rebreather manufacturing ceased after several incidents of oxygen poisoning occurred. Modern Draeger Rebreathers are computer controlled so the diver only gets the amount of oxygen they need.

 

 

DESCO Air Master SCUBA Regulator              Small Air Compressor

 

           

 

For a short time in the 1950's DESCO produced a SCUBA regulator called the Airmaster. It was sold loose or mounted to a tank. A mounted unit was known as the "D" Lung. The Airmaster regulator is rare and we were lucky to get one.

 

 

Miscellaneous Items

 

 

David White Sextant

This David White Co. sextant was made in Milwaukee during WWII. Leon Lyons acquired it for us. 

 

 

 

 

Artifact from the lake steamer Pewabic

 

Mr. Fifield and Bernice McKenzie were always receiving things from customers and friends. That is most likely how this relic came to be here.

 

 

The wooden propeller PEWABIC was lost on August 9, 1865 after a collision with her sister ship the METEOR. The vessels had drawn close together in order to pass messages and packages (a common practice of the day) when the PEWABIC suddenly cut across the METEOR's bow. The PEWABIC sank in just a few minutes in 180 feet of water, with the loss of an estimated 125 lives. Fifty passengers were rescued by the METEOR. The PEWABIC was carrying a valuable cargo of copper from the Keweenaw Peninsula mines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our embroidered patch and decal collection

 

 

 

 

 

The most unusual patch. Have no idea where it came from (other than Gitmo).

 

 

 

A long time mascot

 

 

Don't know who he was drawn by or when. He just hangs around our office. Possibly an advertising concept for DESCO Water Sports and/or the Airmaster Lung. He does have a double hose.

 

 

 

 

Our "Other DESCO's" Collection

 

DESCO is a fairly popular acronym. There were thirteen DESCO's in the Federal Supply System at our last count. There were two other DESCO's in Milwaukee. One was a medical supply company, while the other was a computer software firm. We have in our collection a few products from other DESCO's around the world.

 

 

 

 

Fire hydrant wrenches and a cap made by DeSanno Foundry and Machining Co. (DESCO) Phoenix AZ.

 

   

 

 

Electronic items by DESCO Industries

 

   

 

 

Cup and Saucer marked "DESCO Made in Occupied Japan".

 

   

 

Dinner Plate

 

   

 

 

WE DON'T KNOW? At first thought a creamer but it is obviously meant for hot liquids. If anybody can fill us in please do. Made in Belgium.

 

   

 

 

Potpourri Container

  

 

 

 

Swiss Linen

 

      

 

 

 

Japanese Linen

 

  

 

  

 

Music CD

 

  

  


 

 

 

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