US Navy Mark V Helium Squalus Commemorative 1939 Helmet
The US Navy Mark V is arguably the most iconic helmet design ever made. Its style and history have made it one of the most popular helmets among collectors worldwide. The model was made for the US Navy from 1916 till the mid-1980s. Unlike the vast majority of Mark V helmets made, this specific one is a rarely seen mixed gas model designed to allow divers to work at extreme depths. The mixed gas or helium Mark V found its true calling and need in the Atlantic Ocean during a training exercise disaster in 1939. The story and resulting knowledge learned from the rescue and salvage of the USS Squalus is commemorated in the design of this truly important helmet.
This helmet was made by one of the famed and iconic manufacturers of the 20th and 21th Centuries, the Diving Equipment & Supply Company (DESCO). Located in Milwaukee, WI this company would start making diving helmets and related equipment in the late 1930Â’s. Starting in 1943 they become a supplier to the US Navy, including the Mark V helmet. The Mark V is considered by many to be the most iconic diving helmet ever made. The mixed gas or helium version of the Mark V was made in limited numbers due to their cost and highly specialized use of which typically only the US Government was in need of. With the use of a large brass canister on the back containing a CO2 absorbent and a helium / oxygen mixture divers could work at depths past the typical 100' to 150' limit of a standard Mark V helmet Many divers feared the helium Mark V, some nicknaming it the Widow Maker!
In 2007 the Historical Diving Society of the United Stated made the decision to commission the Diving Equipment & Supply Company in Milwaukee, WI to make a very special and now historic Mark V Helium helmet commemorating the successful salvage of the USS Squalus. After much planning and work the helmets were finished on September 13th 2009, the very day 70 years prior the submarine was raised! A total of only 26 helmets were produced with each one receiving its own unique number, this one is #17. These helmets were offered to Historical Diving Society members and quickly sold out. These special pieces have been secured in museums and collections around the world. Now after 10 years #17 is available, which may represent the 1st one to hit the open market since their initial offering!
This helmet will be accompanied by an important documentation of the background of the commissioning of the helmets, the history of the Squalus and the events that occurred after the accident, a detailed account of the diving operations during the rescue and salvage, the construction of the helmets by DESCO including details of the parts and methods used to make these unique pieces. An additional certificate of authenticity from Nations Attic will accompany this helmet as well.
When this incredible helmet was conceived, no expense was spared to insure it was accurate, functional and most importantly honored the brave people associated with the USS Squalus. The helmet itself is in every respect a ready to use US Navy Mark V Helium helmet, built to strict US Navy requirements. (As with all helmets we offer, they should not be used before having them checked and certified by DESCO). In addition to the standard ID plate, the helmet features a highly detailed oval sterling silver plate showing the USS Squalus along with details of the salvage and serial # information. Additional matching serial numbers can be found on both neck rings, four brails, both ID plates and a copper plate on the large brass tank on the back of the helmet. Brass hardware such as the non-return valve and fitting caps are clearly marked DESCO as well. Overall, the helmet is a masterpiece of design as well as a dedication to the event surrounding the USS Squalus.
With this helmetÂ’s massive configuration, it makes for an impressive display piece. With the added fittings and large brass canister on the back, the helmet comes in at over 100 pounds! Luckily the brass canister is removable and the bonnet and breastplate separate, making transportation much easier. Once the helmet is assembled, its imposing features, great history, and overall look make it an instant focal point in any collection or as a standalone piece in a home or office setting. We will allow the detailed photos to this pinnacle of diving helmet design and historical dedication do the rest of the talking.
All helmets sold & auctioned by Nations Attic Inc. will come with a certificate of authenticity (COA). This COA will have a serial # on it that will match the # on a tamperproof holographic decal placed on the inside of the helmet. This level of security and long term assurance of the helmets authenticity is un-matched in the industry and very important to us.
The display stand shown in the photos is not included. The option to purchase one after the auction will be provided. All helmets will be shipped in two double boxed boxes via FedEx. Worldwide shipping available. A shipping quote prior to the auction can be provided by emailing your postal code.