French helmet DENAYROUZE
Old french helmet Denayrouze, of 3 bolts and 4 windows (patent from August 8 of 1867).
It is very rare and scarce, there are only two or three units known, one of them is in the L’Espalion Museum, in France, it has a nice patina, and the word DENAYROUZE engraved on the breast plate. The helmet has a “double peau” (double skin), let’s say a double hose, typical on old french helmets. The weight is 14,6 Kg.
This is a Dénayrouze helmet of early epoch (1884, before the extinction of its first company, absorbed by Charles Petit Company, on 1885.
As written by Jacques Michel on his book "Trois Inventeurs Méconnus" (Three Unknown Inventors), dedicated to Bénoît Rouquayrol and Auguste and Louis Dénayrouze, which are, with Joseph Cabirol, the parents of historical diving in France.
Bénoît Rouquayrol, inventor of the membrane in 1860 and Auguste and Louis Dénayrouze, inventors of the autonomous diving suit (1865) and the diving helmet.
In January 1873 Auguste Dénayrouze was offering to the Ministery of defence his diving helmet, which was tested during more than 6 months in the fishing of sponges. At the same time his brother Louis patented a diving lamp (fuel oil + air sent by the same pump that fed the diver), patented on June 1872.
His fusion with Rouquayrol becoming the Rouquayrol – Dénayrouze Company, the creation of a pressure valve, handled by the diver and a special suit made together an essential element for dock works and sponge fishing, practiced by their company "Société Française de la Pêche des Éponges", at Sporades Archipel, in Mediterranean.
They also created the "Société des Spécialités Mécaniques Réunies", this will last ten years, was dissolved in 1884, so disappearing the word "Réunies". It follows operating as "Société des Spécialités Mécaniques". It is on 1895 when it totally stops, passing to be named "Société Charles Petit".
The new Society Charles Petit goes to operate the red coral in the Mediterranean, China and Japan, collecting of pearl oysters in Ceylon and Bengal Gulf, and fishing of sponges in Turkey, from they obtain good profits. After some time, the lack of sales make the company to close.
It is in 1920 that Charles Petit, with his son-in-law René Piel, create the new Company with their names, ten at the decease of the first, the Company becomes René Piel, the annual production is approximately between 40 and 50 units, thus produced in craftsmanship.
After second World War, with the numerous salvages and repairs of docks, harbors, etc., there is much work, and in 1965 the Company ends its activity definitely. Scuba diving and new equipment make unnecessary the romantic and robust diving helmet and the manual pump. This means the end of an époque of pioneers… and the beginning of a new age.