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About Brian Goodison-Blanks
Brian Goodison-Blanks is the Head of the Maritime and Sporting Department at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood. He is based at Honiton in Devon.
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The material published in this web log is for general purposes only. It does not constitute nor is it intended to represent professional advice. You should always seek specific professional advice in relation to particular issues. The information in this web log is provided "as is" with no warranties and confers no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.

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Review Entries for Day Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The basic principle of a diving helmet is relatively simple, so much so that over the years many budding explorers have made their own diving helmets and used them to great effect. Most of these homemade helmets, such as the one seen here made from a gas cylinder with a single air supply, have been for use in shallow water. 

 a homemade diving helmet constructed from a gas cylinder.

A homemade diving helmet constructed from a gas cylinder.

These have copied the basic designs of shallow water helmets like the Miller Dunn ‘Divinhood’ style one, in which the air escapes from under the shoulders of the diver (though it looks incredibly like a Minion character!) In order to go deeper, the more common standard diving dress is required such as those supplied by Siebe Gorman & Co and CE Heinke & Co.

 a miller dunn divinhood style helmet.

A Miller Dunn Divinhood style helmet.

But what if you look at this equipment and think ‘I know, I’ll make my own diving gear’?

In cataloguing the Tony and Yvonne Pardoe Collection of Diving Helmets and Equipment, there is one particular homemade diving helmet that has quite a remarkable story to its creation. Though the book does not provide any names or details, the images show a Swedish farmer who had lost his tractor through the ice, diving into the cold water using a helmet and equipment he had made himself.

The red painted helmet has clear weld marks to the domed section and is fitted with an engine drain tap in place of a spitcock. His ingenuity does not stop there as he even made his own diving weights using canvas and lead as well as using an old car headlamp as a diving lamp. 

As well as these pieces, he constructed his own diving knife and by using and old suitcase and speaker, made his own diver telephone with which to communicate to his friends on the surface.

 a set of homemade standard diving equipment made by a swedish farmer.

A set of homemade standard diving equipment made by a Swedish farmer.

Certainly comparing this homemade diving helmet to those made by Siebe Gorman, Heinke and Morse the extent of the farmer’s skills is evident in the quality of his work in producing a practical and functional diving helmet.  He was certainly brave enough to trust his own work and was even successful at locating the tractor beneath the ice and recovering it.

A truly remarkable man and an unusual provenance to this diving helmet should raise considerable interest when it comes up for auction on the 15th June 2016.

 

sweidsh farmer who made his own diving equipment

sweidsh farmer using his hoemmade diving equipment

swedish farmer and diving support team

Various shots of the Swedish farmer using his home made
diving equipment, which he used to recover a tractor.

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Tuesday, 16 February 2016 20:55:02 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Maritime | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Monday, 01 February 2016

If any auctioneer ever says to you ‘seen one, you’ve seen them all’ then politely ask them to finish their cup of tea and leave.  If there is one thing that cataloguing the Tony and Yvonne Pardoe Collection of Diving Helmets and Equipment has taught me, it is that there are a vast number of variations of a single item that means, as an auctioneer, you can never stop learning.

 

 an early 12 bolt sqaure corselet diving helmet by ce heinke & co ltd

An early 12 bolt sqaure corselet diving helmet by CE Heinke & Co Ltd.

Diving helmets are instantly recognisable from their basic shape, which has essentially remained unchanged for over 100 years.  Even today you can still buy a figure in a diving helmet and suit for your fish tank at home! The large copper bonnet with small windows, the weighted chest plate and the umbilical cord airline remains the basic principal behind its use, but seeing such a collection of diving helmets together in preparation for an auction  later on in the year, shows how solutions to the development of diving helmets and technology have produced various results.

 

 a us navy mark v helium re-breather diving helmet by morse (front).

A US Navy Mark V Helium Re-Breather Diving Helmet by Morse (front).

From this early 12 bolt diving helmet with square corselet by CE Heinke with breast plate air outlet through to the rather Steampunk looking Mark V helium re-breather by Morse, the variations in the Tony and Yvonne Pardoe collection are quite simply fascinating. Taking time cataloguing the collection has been an interesting and educational experience.

 

a us navy mark v helium re-breather diving helmet by morse (side).

A US Navy Mark V Helium Re-Breather Diving Helmet by Morse (front).

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Monday, 01 February 2016 18:22:56 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Maritime | Trackback

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