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as of 04/16/14

 

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as of 04/16/14

 

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DESCO HELMETS

All current production DESCO helmets

 

DESCO MASKS

Commercial and Pool Cleaning Masks

Light Duty Diving Outfit

 

FITTINGS TOOLS

& ACCESSORIES

 

COMMUNICATIONS

DESCO Two Diver Telephone and available communications options

 

DRYSUITS

Third party dry suits

sold by DESCO

 

DEEPSEA B-2 HELMET

Composite Beat Engel Demand Helmet

 


Product

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SAFETY

Update 11-22-12 

 

CONTAMINATED WATER DIVING

 

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TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Product warnings and

cautionary notes

 


General Diving Equipment

 Information

 

SURFACE SUPPLIED DIVING

What gear it takes to dive.

 

HELMET CONSTRUCTION

What goes into making a diving helmet

 

HELMET IDENTIFICATION

Real or Replica?

 

HELMET DETAILS

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

Old Equipment

Equipment no longer in production.


Underwater work requires more than just a diver and a helmet. To stay dry he needs a tough suit or dress. With the helmet and suit he becomes more buoyant so weights are necessary. A clean and reliable air supply is mandatory. Communication with the surface is vital for safety and efficient work. Tools and equipment to support the diver and do the required tasks are just as essential. Many pieces go into making a successful dive. The best diver in the world is useless without the tools to make him effective.

After the war DESCO expanded its support equipment product offerings. A line of air compressors, miscellaneous equipment, and tools made the catalog in 1945. It might be apparent that these photos were taken at a time when TV was also Black & White. It has been a few years since these items made a DESCO catalog. The catalog pages changed over time and where possible we will present all available pages.

Below are products no longer made by DESCO

 

DESCO Rebreathers can be seen on the MIXED GAS & REBREATHERS page.

 


Helmets

Buie Mixed Gas Helmets, Model 100 & Model 106 Helmets can be seen on the MIXED GAS & REBREATHERS page.


 

First Generation DESCO Shallow Water Helmet

 

As World War II wound down the scramble was on to make new products for the civilian market. In August of 1944 DESCO had catalog photos taken of a shallow water helmet they designed. It featured a formed Copper breastplate permanently mounted to a long version of a Buie helmet shell. A modified Buie faceted front window and a Agar top window were used. The helmet was fitted with "football" shaped weights front and back. The breastplate didn't have the edge bead like the Morse Shallow Water Helmet which probably made it easier to manufacture but more prone to being bent or deformed during use.

 

 

     

 

The helmet first appeared in the 1945 catalog and retailed for $130.00 (FOB Milwaukee). They couldn't get the model to quit breathing and fogging the window so they needed to retouch the photo for the catalog.

 

Here are photos of a DESCO Shallow Water Helmet sent to us by Victor Maidhof. Notice this helmet has a very tall top shell. Unlike the helmet above the lower front of the shell isn't bent to follow the window frame. The shell is dished out top and bottom to accept the window.

 

Photos courtesy of Victor Maidhof

 

They obviously were not totally satisfied with this helmet. The labor required to fit the front window must have been obscene. The Buie window frame was made up of multiple parts, inner and outer. Forming the shell for the facets was likely a nightmare unto itself.

 

We have a photo of a modified design from September of 1946 showing the original curved Buie window. This window is currently used on the Browne Utility Helmet and extra care has to be taken installing even this simpler frame. The base shape has to be right or stress can be placed on the Acrylic window. Bolt hole alignment is critical too. We have not seen an example of this version so we don't know if any were sold.

 

 

 

 

The drawing we have for the DESCO Shallow Water Helmet with the cast breastplate (currently available) is dated 9/3/1948 so the original design only lasted about four years. The new helmet used a Sponge shell mated to the cast Brass breastplate and has cast window frames that are fitted like other helmets. This eliminated the severe bends required for the faceted Buie type window. To see the current DESCO Shallow Water Helmets click HERE.

 

 


DESCO Masks

Current DESCO Masks can be seen on the DESCO MASKS page. 


 

U.S. Navy Diving Mask

This is the mask that started it all. The Navy needed a lightweight utility mask for jobs where heavy gear wasn't necessary or practical. DESCO developed the Browne Mask to meet this need. It was also the basis for a diving outfit (see below). The unique feature of the USN Mask was 3 way valve attached to the breather bag. The bag was intended to reduce air demand and ease breathing. It didn't function as well as hoped and eventually fell out of use. DESCO even stocked a cap to block the bag port.

 

U.S. Navy Free-Flow Diving Mask

Cat No. 59069

The standard Navy mask. Air is fed through a non-return valve, and a three-way inhale valve which permits use of an optional breather bag assembly (see Cat. No. 59022.)

Air is exhausted on the left side of the mask through a rubber-disc exhaust valve.

 

 

 

 

U.S. Navy Diving Outfit

Cat. No. 59067

The standard U.S. Navy Mask (Cat. No. 59069) complete with breather bag and Desco (sic) light weight canvas belt. The breather bag provide a reservoir of air which permits easier breathing under conditions where air supply is insufficient or delivery pressure is intermittent.

 

  

 

Download  The Browne U.S. Navy Type Diving Outfit Instructions in .pdf format Note: These instructions are offered for educational purposes only and not intended for training, or equipment maintenance.

 

 

DESCO CONVERSION MASK

Catalog No. DCM 1

The famous DESCO U.S. Navy type full face mask is now available to those who would like to convert their mouthpiece units to full face mask units. Suitable valves are installed on either side of the mask which has a Brass frame, molded rubber, plexiglass window, and quick release adjustable headstraps.

 

 

Pulmonary Mask

Cat. No. 59069-M

The Pulmonary Mask was a response to a need in the medical field. It never appeared in a DESCO catalog but a flyer was produced.

 

 

 

 

 

Battelle Mask

The Battelle Mask never made general production so no literature was produced. The Battelle Mask featured a snorkel tube running up the left side of the mask terminating in an exhaust valve. The article below is from a Battelle produced magazine.

 

         

The mask pictured is in our display room. It has communications installed.

 

 

DESCO Demand Valve Mask

Note: DESCO no longer offers a demand mask.

 

The first DESCO DVM to appear in the catalog had the cat. number DVM2. We are unsure as to the designation DVM 2. Most likely it is due to the DVM mask being stand alone from the Dolphin Lung.

 

 

First DVM Offered by DESCO

 

THE DESCO MASK WITH DEMAND VALVE

Catalog No. DVM2

 

This integral part of the Dolphin Lung is offered as a separate unit in order to give a versatility never before offered to the shallow water diver. With this combination of DESCO full face mask and chromed demand valve, both self contained and surface air supply diving is now made practical using the same piece of equipment. It can be used with a small, portable compressor exactly as the DESCO U.S. navy type shallow water mask or combining it with one of the Dolphin lung cylinder arrangements, it becomes a fine, automatic compressed air type lung. The demand valve is mounted on the mask in a position that affords breathing ease no matter what position the diver may be working in. It is designed to work at a pressure of 60 psi therefore requiring a pressure regulator if used with an air supply greater than that setting.

 

 

 

Second DVM Offered by DESCO

 

DESCO MASK WITH DEMAND VALVE

Catalog No. DVM

 

The DESCO full face mask with demand valve is made available to those who especially want a piece of equipment that can be used in several ways. The unit as it stands can be used as a full face mask with surface feed air from either a large or small air compressor. In this way it will be similar to the DESCO mask used by the Navy. If it is to be used with regular compressed air bottles, it is important that a pressure regulator adjusted to 60 pounds be used, if a greater amount of pressure is to flow through the demand valve.

 

 

 

This demand valve incorporated a snorkel device for swimming on the surface. The snorkel had a valve on the top which was closed manually before submerging. One photo shows a unit without the snorkel. We don't know if it is an early or late version. The purge button could be locked down for the mask to free flow.

 

Last DVM Offered by DESCO

 

DESCO Demand-Regulator Mask

Cat. No. 59500

 

The basic mask and head-harness are the. same as used on the Commercial Free- Flow Mask.

A rugged second stage regulator is, however, permanently attached to the right side of the mask.

 

An air control valve is mounted on the stem of the regulator. When opened, this valve converts the mask into a standard free-flow mask. When closed, air is available to the diver, on demand, through the regulator. This improves communications by minimizing exhaust noise and also permits the diver to breathe comfortably at very low delivered air pressures.

 

In order to avoid undesirable CO2 build up, the mask should not, however, be used in demand mode for excessive periods of time, especially under heavy work-load conditions When so operated it should periodically be ventilated by opening the air control valve.

 

The mask comes equipped with a non-return valve.

 

     

 

 


 

 

 

Diving Dresses (drysuits)

 

   Commercial Dresses

           

 

   Two Piece Dress & Clamp

             

                                                                                      

 

   Light Weight Back Entry Dress

 

  The Lightweight Dress came in a couple of configurations.

 

  The first was a suit with a face seal for using the Browne Mask.

 

   

 

 

  The second had a mask frame permanently attached with a hinged faceplate.

 

 

 

The third came with a neck opening for the Browne Utility, Model 100, Model 106, or Buie Helmet.

 

 

The Lightweight Dress was entered from the back. Once the diver was in the dress the opening was sealed by twisting the the opening shut and applying the dress clamp.

 

   

 

 Accessories for the Lightweight Suit.

 

  

 

 

  Gloves & Mitts

           

       

 

                  

   Divers Underwear

 

        

     Patching          Rubber

     Material          Cement

 

 Weightbelts & Shoes

 

 

       

                     

         Sponge            Commercial      Sandal Type   Chafing Shoes

           Sandal                  Sandal  

 

 Communications

  DESCO offered many different styles of diver telephones.

 

                  

 

             

        

                                                

  Air Supply

   DESCO offered a variety of air compressors from several manufacturers.

               

 

               

 

               

 

   Hand Pump air compressors

       

 

            

                                      Hoses                                     

                                                                                

 

 

  Tools

 

                                

      Air Chisel                      Pneumatic Drills              Pneumatic Saw    Impact Wrench      Wire Brush

 

                                      

   Grapnel Hook        Salvage Hook    Blasting Machine     Hole Punch        Hydraulic Cutter       

                      

  Underwater Welding & Cutting

 

           

 

           

 

 

 

 Miscellaneous Accessories

 

                                            

  Decompression      Salvage Balloon      Diver's Ladder        Underwater            

          Stage                                                                            Light

 

             

      Recompression                      Litter                 Descending Weights

          Chamber                                                    & Sounding Lead