EARLY SCHRADER COMMERCIAL DIVING HELMET Ca 1930
Presented is an early A. Schrader & Son, Inc of Brooklyn, NY commercial helmet. It was Schrader's
practice not to number their bonnets. The serial number on the maker's tag was lightly struck, but the first
two and the last digits can be made out in proper light, and the third digit can be seen with a loupe.
We believe the serial number is 1468. The patina on this helmet is in shades of black on the bonnet
and breast plate with some reddish undertones. It is in excellent condition and is complete with its original telephone and butterfly style wing nuts. All moving parts function. The front door screws out, but needs to be freed-up.The communication fitting on the back is marked Craftsweld.
CONDITION: In excellent shape for a helmet that has served in commercial service and is over 80 years old. The air passages are all intact. The chin button is in place and functions properly. The bonnet shows only a small dents and many small dimples as would be expected. The left knob on the front door is a recent replacement. A number of items have been removed from front of the bonnet such as lashing eyes, and hooks. These appear to have been professionally done by a factory and are not field modifications. The nuts used appear to be the original.
A.Schrader's and Son Inc. Model 1468 Helmet/ parts. Helmet manufactured by A. Schrader's and Son. Model #1468. Includes parts that he kept in an ammo box that came with the helmet.
HISTORY OF SCHRADER DIVING:
Schrader is one of the oldest names in U.S. diving, second only to Morse. The founder, August Schrader was a creative and inventive German immigrant who originally set up a shop dealing in rubber products in New York City, NY in 1839, only a few years after A.J. Morse set up shop in Boston.
In 1845 he began supplying fittings and valves for rubber products made by the Goodyear Brothers. Schrader was also a maker of daguerreotype apparatus. His original shop was at 115 John Street in Manhattan, NY. Shortly thereafter he went into partnership with Christian Baecher. Christian was a brass turner and finisher which provided a foundation for what followed.
The two partners, having watched divers at work at a nearby New York Harbor jetty, decided to improve the diving helmets in use at the time. In 1849, with the help of Baecher, he created a new copper helmet. Later his interest in diving led to him to design an air pump.
Around 1890, August Schrader saw the need for a bicycle tire valve. By 1891, he produced the Schrader valve. The Schrader valve was his most popular invention, and is still used today.
In 1917, the United States Bureau of Construction & Repair introduced the MK V helmet and dress, which then became the standard for US Navy diving until the introduction of the MK 12 in the late nineteen seventies. Schrader and Morse Diving were the two original supplers.
During the onslaught of World War Two only Morse and Schrader were making dive helmets for the navy. Desco and Miller-Dunn went into production around 1943. In total only about 7,000 MK V helmets were produced by all four companies during the war years with DESCO producing the most, then Morse, Schrader and Miller-Dunn. The scarcity of the latter two are the reason they command a higher price in the market.