as of 05/07/13
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
as of 05/07/13
& Viking price lists.
Product warnings and
What gear it takes to dive.
What goes into making a diving helmet
Real or Replica?
Features of the various helmet models
Magazine or News articles related to diving.
Links to online diving videos.
How DESCO started
Those who built DESCO
DESCO Product Information
General product history. Catalogs, significant orders, etc.
DESCO A, B, C Rebreathers Recirculating Helmets
SCUBA Lungs, Water Skis, and Miscellaneous Water Sports Products
DESCO company photos
and photos from our archives
Commercial Diving Photos supplied by customers
Classic equipment &
hobby diving photos
Photos of helmets from
Photos of equipment in museums
Photos from some of
our repair projects
DESCO Historical Item Collection
Miscellaneous Photos, Old diver and/or equipment photos
General, Product, & Company News
05/07/13: Company News The e-commerce website is being redesigned to a more professional site. It will have expanded parts listings and be more user friendly. We are about six weeks away from it being up.
03/05/13: Product News DESCO has added the US Navy Diver's Dressing Stool to our diver accessories lineup. Cat. No. 27070 $245.00 Made in accordance with BuShips drawing BU. No 610414 dated Jan 25, 1943 this dressing stool is an exact production model of the stool US Navy Divers would use to dress in. This drawing was pulled from our archives. DESCO did not make these during the war but as a prime supplier we would have received the drawing for bidding purposes.
The stool is made of Yellow Pine cut to the proper size (no standard dimensional lumber used). All main components are solid wood, one inch thick.The stool comes unfinished as no finish was specified on the drawing. Overall dimensions of the stool are 18”w x 14”d x 19”h. The compartment under the seat is 14”w x 10”d x 9 ½”h. Weight is 20 pounds.
12/26/12: Pricing Change The 2013 Retail Commercial Price List and the 2013 Retail Specialty Item Price list have been placed on the RETAIL PRICE LISTS page. They become effective January 1st. Prices have changed on the Air Hat, Mark V, and Navy Helium helmets, and the divers knife. The gold and silver jewelry prices have changed.
10/02/12: Product News Ansell Protective Products has issued a new 2012-2013 Viking Price Book. Notable changes are the new addition of the Viking HAZTECH drysuit, and the HDS 1500 drysuit being dropped. Download the HAZTECH Drysuit flyer.
09/06/12: New Product
DESCO is introducing its own Neoprene Kevlar
The new Desco Diving Gloves are economical while
being durable. These gloves are made from 3 mil Neoprene, with the palms, inside
fingers and finger tips covered with Kevlar. The wrists have straps with Velcro.
Used as over gloves they will add a layer of protection for the Latex gloves
worn in contaminated diving. The gloves are soft and supple so they won't impede
Sizes from XL to XXXL. The price is $29.00 per
07/23/12: DESCO History A company member finally made it to the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison to see the Wisconsin Innovations exhibit. Mr. Fifield was included in the exhibit for his development of the Air Hat. He is in some heady company with the likes of Ole Evinrude, A.O. Smith, David Koss, Les Paul, Christopher Sholes, William Harley & Arthur Davidson, and William & James Horlick. There are photos of the display in the Thomas Fifield section of the DESCO PEOPLE page.
04/10/12: DESCO History The Winter 2012 issue of The Journal of Diving History is out. In this issue Leslie Leaney offers an article on the life of Max Nohl. This is the second installment in a series which will run on DESCO and its people during our 75th anniversary year.
03/14/12: FYI Ric's computer is the primary one in our office and most of our online communications funnel through it. Yesterday we received an e-mail supposedly from FedEx saying they had a failed delivery to us. If we wanted the package we had to open an attached invoice. The attachment is actually a very nasty virus which rendered Ric's computer nothing more than a big paperweight. The computer is in the repair shop right now and will cost about $250.00 to fix. We have transferred over to Christian's computer but he does not have as complete an address book as Ric does. If you have something pending we may be tardy in responding. Our e-mail accounts are POP mail and not web mail so we can't retrieve those that are stuck on Ric's machine. If you happen to get an e-mail from a shipping company like this with an attachment DO NOT OPEN THE ATTACHMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There are UPS and DHL versions of this virus scam. Contact the shipping company directly if you have suspicions about an e-mail. FedEx has information on its website at http://www.fedex.com/ag/fraud/virusalert.html
02/17/12: DESCO History Last month we were contacted by a man who found an original oval mask B Lung at a garage liquidation. It was sitting in a original DESCO shipping crate (not actually for this unit but for a diving outfit). He brought them in and Ric purchased them for our collection. I just threw together a stand to get it on display. It has joined our other (later) B-lung in the display room.
More old DESCO products seem to be surfacing. We just completed repairs to DESCO Shallow Water Helmet Number Seven for Seahawk Trading Co. They also sent along number ten for us to pound out a few dents and to use as reference in repairing number seven. Photos can be found on the GALLERY 6 page.
History is about DESCO's 75th anniversary this year. DESCO was founded in the summer/fall
of 1937 but was not incorporated until May of 1938. Our 75th shares the year with the 100th
anniversary of the Titanic sinking and the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.
12/21/11: Shipping Issue Today we received a Air Hat we shipped to a West Coast dealer last month. The helmet had arrived to them damaged. The UPS driver made a note of the box damage when he delivered it. When opened the handle on the air control valve was marred and the valve stem was bent. We also got back the owners manual from the helmet. All fifteen pages have been ripped through. The dealer sent photos of the box which they still have. It is a mess. One side appears to be patched with a piece of cardboard and clear tape. There are two holes in another side (where the manual and air control valve are located.
UPS was notified and a adjuster from their insurance company came out to inspect. We were notified by the insurance company that our packing of the helmet was insufficient so the claim was denied. The Air Hats have been packed the same way for over thirty years. There is a double bottom placed in each box to support the helmet. Sections of saved mailing tube are cut and placed over the air control valve and exhaust valve. They serve as shield for the valves and also prevent the helmet from moving inside the box. Spacers are also placed at the front loop and tail so the helmet can't move forward or backwards. The box is then packed (firmly) with Styrofoam peanuts. This system has worked well. Any packing method will not stand against excessively poor handling by the shipping company. UPS suggests we wrap the helmets in bubble wrap instead of using packing peanuts. Since whatever hit this box (or this box hit) penetrated the cardboard wall and a fifteen page manual, and bent a 1/4" thick Stainless Steel valve stem it's likely bubble wrap would not have faired better, and probably worse. Below are photos, judge for yourself.
Below are photos of the helmet being repacked after repair. This is a standard packing job no different than a thousand times previous.
This helmet order is going half way around the world. Packed the same as the helmet above. We expect it to arrive intact just like the previous thirty did.
If you receive a package from us which has apparent damage make sure the delivery driver notes it before leaving. Contact DESCO and the shipping company immediately so the package can be inspected and a claim filed. Since you have the package in your possession it must be inspected at your location. Further transport of the package before inspection will null a damage claim.
12/16/11: Pricing Change The 2012 Retail Commercial Price List and the 2012 Retail Specialty Item Price list have been placed on the DOWNLOADS page. They become effective January 1st.
09/21/11: DESCO History On September 17th a new exhibit opened at the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison. The new exhibit is called "Wisconsin Innovations: From the Iconic to the Unexpected" The exhibit covers the many inventions, innovations, and creations that came from Wisconsin. Some highlights are works by Frank Lloyd Wright, and Les Paul. The diverse and eclectic nature of Wisconsin invention is explored from the typewriter to the super computer. Other inventions like the snowmobile, and the modern surfboard are featured. DESCO loaned the Wisconsin Historical Society Air Hat prototype #1 and Air Hat #2000 for a display on Mr. Fifield's contribution to modern commercial diving. The exhibit is scheduled to run one year. For more information see: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org
09/09/11: Diving History In the latest issue of the Wisconsin Underwater Archaeological Society's newsletter, Wisconsin's Underwater Heritage, there is a very interesting article on Wisconsin diving history. On item of particular interest was a mention of a Helium dive being conducted on the wreck of the carferry Lakeland near Sturgeon Bay in 1925. Our belief was that the first operational use of Helium/Oxygen diving was on the USS Squalus in 1939. We have scanned the article and created a pdf file. Click here to view it.
These folks do some great underwater archaeology and historical preservation. You can visit the WUAA website at http://www.wuaa.org.
07/29/11: Pricing Change The revisions to the pricelist are not yet complete. We will hold current pricing until September 1st. We want to have the revised pricelist out to the dealers before the new pricing takes effect, which won't be possible at this late date.
07/21/11: Pricing Change We have been informed by Trelleborg that due to significant increases in material costs they will be raising prices on their products as of August 20th. A new price book is available on the DOWNLOADS page. Trelleborg Managing Director Magnus Andersson in a letter to distributors stated that the cost of EPDM Rubber has increased by 30%, and Chloroprene Rubber by 110% since January. Prices for other materials like solvents have seen a 30% to 50% rise in the same period. Trelleborg implemented some cost saving measures to mitigate the amount of the increases.
06/08/11: Pricing Change Due to the unrelenting rise in material costs we are forced to raise our prices effective Aug.1st. The cost of Silver Solder has jumped 112% in the last year. Brass bar stock is up 20%. Casting prices have risen between 26% and 28%. Our inventory of plastic stock is nearly depleted and we are bracing for what the price increases will be considering the crude oil prices now in effect. The percentage of our price increase has yet to be determined but we will hold it as low as we possibly can.
04/08/11: Product availability As stated below there is high demand for equipment in Japan to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. We are working on rebuilding our stock of helmets as quickly as possible. Current lead time is approximately two weeks for tinned Air Hats.
03/30/11: Product availability Due to the recent disaster in Japan our stock of Air Hats has been depleted. Contact us about lead time for Air Hat availability.
03/18/11: Pricelist Update Updated Commercial Pricelist posted to the DOWNLOADS page. The bolt and washer for the Air Hat Video/Light Blocks were added to the parts listing.
03/01/11: Pricelist Update Updated Commercial Pricelist posted to the DOWNLOADS page. The change was to the description of the Air Hat Communications Pigtail Assembly for clarification. The listing of the parts in the 61228 assembly was made more clear.
07/12/12: Recently Trelleborg was purchased by Ansell Protective Solutions. The company website is undergoing a revamp so there may be link issues from this website to theirs for sizing charts and price lists. The Trelleborg name is being dropped but the dry suit line will continue as Viking. Viking has discontinued the ProAm and ProHD dry suit models.
11/01/11:Leather Shoe Uppers Eleven months ago we announced that we were bringing back leather uppers for the diving shoes. These uppers are similar to the US Navy designed ones from World War Two. The decision to return them to the product line was prompted by a request from a notable collector and classic equipment sport diver.
Last week our leather supplier brought in three pairs of uppers, one Tan, one Brown, and one Dark Brown.
They are heavy stitched and riveted. Three belts with Brass Buckles span over the lacings. These new uppers have a Mark V logo stamped into the tongue. The Leather shoes can be ordered in lightweight or heavyweight types. The Lightweight ones can also be ordered with rubber over soles. The uppers can also be ordered as replacement parts.
29077L Shoes, Diving, U.S. Navy, Heavyweight (Leather Uppers)
29078L Shoes, Diving, U.S. Navy, Lightweight (Leather Uppers)
29078LR Shoes, Diving, U.S. Navy, Lightweight (Leather Uppers) (Rubber Over Soles)
29064/5L Shoe Uppers - Replacement, Leather w/screws
06/08/11: The Stillson Concept Helmet has officially joined the line of Classic DESCO diving helmets. The "Stillson" was originally built as fill in work during slow periods. Our intent was to try and make the helmet pictured in the 1915 Stillson Report. The helmet we created was supposed to be a one off made from stock parts we modified, and whatever we could beg, borrow, or steal. There appears to be enough interest in this helmet to make it a viable product. Helmet 001 is the prototype and was made with some cobbled together parts. It is not for sale and now resides in DESCO's helmet collection. The first production helmet 002 has been committed. We still have to time study producing the Stillson to establish a proper retail price. Normally we could use other helmets as a basis but the fairleads on the Stillson change the process. The fairleads have to be fabricated from billet, which is time consuming. In the future if production warrants the expense of making patterns for the fairlead parts might be justified.
05/13/11: We have decided to discontinue the DESCO Descending Diver Tee Shirt, Cat. No.60295 due to diminished sales. In the current economic climate maintaining inventory of slow moving items is not practical. Once remaining inventory is sold no more will be produced. See the IN STOCK page for a list of available sizes,
Diver Down Line Drawing
Cat. No. 60295
$17.00 + S&H
Size 2XL $2.00 extra
04/22/11: A revised Air Hat exploded view and parts list has been posted on the DOWNLOADS page. The Non-Return Valve body and adapter were mislabeled. The item number 28 on the exploded view is the Adapter, part no. 53079. The item number 31 on the exploded view is the Body, part no. 53029, and the Bailout Body is part no. 53029B.
12/17/10: We have available a full color DESCO banner. It is 3ft x 8ft in size made from vinyl. A Mark V and Air Hat bookend the banner with DESCO's 1940's "Under the Seven Seas" logo in the center. Would make a great rec room wall hanging.
$160.00 + S&H
12/10/11:DESCO is working towards offering leather shoes again. They will be made to order and can be ordered in Black, Brown, or Tan. The uppers can be ordered separately as replacement parts.
11/10/11: The 3" Helium Canister Wrench has been added to the Divers Accessories page on the online catalog.
A polished DESCO Mark V Helmet #366, Date of Mfg. 08/25/06 was stolen in mid-September from a residence in California.
In the mid 1990's a truck was stolen from a motel parking lot containing equipment en route to the ADC Underwater convention in Houston. In that truck among other equipment was a DESCO Abalone helmet. This helmet was on loan from DESCO (from Mr. Fifield's office) to one of our dealers. It is unique in that the tag on the breastplate is from the Air Hat, like this one. If you know the whereabouts of this helmet please contact us.