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
Our 75 years in business gives DESCO the experience and capabilities to offer unique services to the diving industry and collectors. Our focus has always been on making quality free flow, metal diving helmets. The manufacturing processes lend themselves to us also being able to repair and restore old diving helmets. Nobody can restore a old beat up diving helmet to "as new" condition without replacing the bulk of the worn parts. We can do that but a well used intact old diving helmet is more valuable to many collectors than a technically correct and functional one. What we promise is we will bring back an old diving helmet as far as its condition and customer preferences will allow. See the GALLERY 6 page to see examples of helmets we have repaired.
DESCO Air Hat Repair and Inspections
We can repair and inspect your DESCO Air Hat diving helmet and provide you a detailed report. The comprehensive inspection will satisfy the ADC equipment inspection requirements. A record of the inspection is maintained by DESCO. Customers will often make upgrades while the diving helmet is at DESCO. The diving helmet will be evaluated upon receipt and recommendations of needed work will be noted. Also any advantageous part replacements or upgrades will be suggested. Once a repair plan is agreed upon the work will be conducted in a timely manner. Emergency and expedited repairs and inspections are possible. See the DESCO Air Hat page for more information.
DESCO can build custom diving helmets by combining off the shelf parts from our classic helmet line.
Custom Lightweight diving Helmet using a Shallow Water front window, Agar side and top windows, Agar exhaust valve, and Browne Commercial air/comm block & air control valve.
A Browne Commercial diving helmet with a horizontal exhaust valve instead of the standard vertical one.
We can make special pieces and we have produced one off, and non diveable novelty helmets for customers using parts they have sent us.
Non diveable helmet made from binnacle housing and portholes.
We can also adapt our parts to other diving helmets to suit the customer's needs. Our shop can mix & match windows, exhaust valves, lock mechanisms, and communications to achieve a distinctive helmet. Our abilities also include customizing existing diving helmets. Retrofitting and upgrading the Chinese TF 12 diving helmets has become popular. In the past we have installed Mark V diving helmet windows, Browne Commercial air block, and Mark V elbows to TF 12 diving helmets.
A warning about the pitfalls of modifying helmets: The problem with retrofitting helmets with non-standard parts is you never know when Murphy and his law will intervene.
A customer wanted his TF 12 diving helmet to function like a Browne Commercial diving helmet. We placed the components as we would on a Browne Commercial diving helmet. The Chinese bonnet shell is shorter than our lightweight shell. Locating the air control valve became an issue. There was an interference problem with the air control valve coming too close to the top left breastplate stud when trying to screw the top on. This was explained to the customer. The customer attempted to live with this issue but found it was very inconvenient. The wingnut needed to be removed before the top could be unscrewed. The helmet came back and the solution was to relocate the ACV to the diver's right side instead of the left.
DESCO's own TF 12 modification.
Many years ago Chinese diving helmets were being imported by the container load. DESCO purchased a TF 12 and a TF 3 for our small helmet collection. They were cheap and we figured they would make a good counterpoint when displayed next to our helmets. More recently the TF 12 has become a candidate for customizing. We have done a few so Ric decided we would do a custom job on ours. We installed a Mark V front guard in place of the plastic guard. The side windows were removed and new commercial type side windows were installed. The drop pin was replaced with a spring lock. The lashing posts were replaced with loops.
Other TF 12 Customs we have done.
TF 12 with Browne Commercial windows and air control valve assembly. This includes the air inlet adapter, tubing and air diffuser.
TF 12 with Browne Commercial Windows.
This is the most heavily modified TF 12 we have done. It actually was refitted in three stages over a two year period. In stage one it received Mark V side and top windows. It also got a commercial telephone cup and comms. Stage two brought big changes. Installed were Browne Commercial Air/comm block, air control valve and diffuser, and exhaust valve. A Mark V ball lever lock replaced the original.
DESCO is well known in the collector market for our ability to repair and restore diving helmets. Our expertise enables us to return damaged helmets or one missing parts to the best state they can be.
Repair and restoration
On old and well used helmets the Copper surfaces are usually scratched, dented, and pitted. We can remove dents and buff out most shallow defects. The shell of the helmet is Copper which is a relatively soft metal. Shallow flaws can be buffed out. Deep scratches usually cannot be fully removed as too much Copper would be lost. We can patch holes to minimize their visual impact.
Repaired helmets can be polished or retinned. In some cases we will recommend just buffing the helmet instead of polishing. This is especially true if the customer wishes the helmet to patina. Often collectors will opt for buffing the helmet only. This gives the metal a luster without highlighting the surface flaws. The helmet will gain a natural patina more evenly. Tin plating over flaws makes them stand out even more. High polishing makes them less noticeable than tinning.
DESCO can fabricate or replicate missing or damaged parts. Where possible we will attempt to purchase the correct parts from the manufacturer. In cases where this is not possible we can modify our parts to resemble the original. Where a "factory" replacement is not possible and our parts are unsuitable we will try and procure an example which can be used to make a casting. A common example of this process is in replacing missing brails. The problem with this method is using a finished part as a pattern leaves no extra material for finishing the replica. Also when a pattern is made for a new part it is made larger to compensate for shrinkage as the metal cools. Red Brass had a shrinkage factor of about 10%. In order for us to have the capability to do recasts we have Aluminum copies made to serve as patterns. This compounds the shrinkage issue as the Aluminum pattern has shrinkage also. Recast replica parts are not perfect replacements, but offer an option for replacing rare or unavailable parts.
Below are some guidelines in contacting us about repairing a helmet.
If you would like DESCO to evaluate your helmet the easiest and least expensive method is to e-mail us photos of the helmet. Shoot the photos in a well lit area on medium resolution. Make sure to take several photos from different angles of damaged places. Take shots of the tag and any markings or numbers. Try and cover the entire helmet so we can judge its overall condition. Please provide any observations of damage or problems with the helmet. A bent part may not be obvious in a photo. Also include things that can't be relayed in photos like whether or not the top will unscrew from the breastplate. Take time to make a list of missing parts and note those you wish to replace. Copies of this information should be sent with the helmet.
Sending the helmet to DESCO.
The most accurate method for evaluating a helmet and providing an accurate cost estimate is for us to have the helmet in our shop. Breastplated helmets should never be shipped assembled together. The helmet should be well packed and shipped with the top and breastplate separated. If the helmet is shipped as a unit the top can compress the breastplate and cause extensive and expensive damage. In the long run is is more cost effective to ship the helmet with the top and breastplate boxed separately than have to repair them. The top and breastplate can be individually boxed then placed together in one larger box as long as the individual boxes are sufficiently strong or reinforced to prevent one from crushing the other. Please include a letter indicating what work you want performed on your helmet. Providing a list of requested work will prevent additional calls or e-mails.
Upon receipt of the helmet we will thoroughly inspect it and provide a firm estimate and time frame for repair. Often we will find additional issues which will be brought to the customer's attention. Many times photos will not show a hidden missing part or a flaw or crack. Customers who don't possess a intimate knowledge of diving helmets may not realize a piece is missing. The customer will need to decide to what level they wish the helmet's condition returned to.