Rare Alfred Hale & Co Boston Diving Helmet 1800s
This helmet was made by one of the most famous and also elusive American helmet makers, Alfred Hale & Company. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, this company would start making diving helmets and related equipment in the 1830s. Alfred Hale was a direct competitor to the A.J. Morse & Son Company, also located in Boston. In many cases, Alfred Hale helmets are very similar to A.J. Morse helmets of the same time period. Regardless of the similarities, Alfred Hale helmets are much more difficult to find. Alfred Hale would produce a company catalog in 1917, by this time changing their name to the Alfred Hale Rubber Company. After this date is it unclear how much longer they stayed in business. In the 21st Century, Alfred Hale helmets are considered among collectors as some of the most desirable American made helmets of the 19th Century.
As stated above, this incredible helmet was made in late 19th Century in Boston, MA. The helmet has a copper body with brass hardware, all of which is present. The helmet features the original stamped company details on the breastplate. During the 1800s helmet makers simply stamped their name and location on the breastplate, rather than a separate ID plate.
A key hallmark of 19th Century helmets is their construction style. During this time the top of the helmet (bonnet) was made of multiple pieces of copper and then brazed together. Rather than a straight brazing line, a pattern or style was used called castellation. Typically this work is not visible, but in this case it is very easy to see on the top of the bonnet. A brass brazing line in the shape of the top of turreted castle can be seen. This key element is vital in help date a early diving helmet such as this one!
The helmet is in excellent condition. The copper body and brass hardware have been polished many years ago. The helmet is complete with all its glass, 12 wing nuts, four brails, air fitting (with extra fitting threaded on), window guards, internal air vents, and exhaust. The helmet exhibits only a hints of working dents. The breastplate does have some discoloration to the copper which is seen on helmets of the vintage on occasion. These subtle signs of use in our opinion really make this helmet come alive!
The Alfred Hale Co only advertised two different styles of helmets for sale. We have included for reference a photo out of their catalog showing both helmet styles Â– this one being the Receives Air In The Head model. This model represents the classic style of diving helmet most often associated with during this time period. Being made by one of the most desirable and elusive manufacturers of diving equipment in US makes this helmet a true investment and piece of early diving history!
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.