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December 31 2015 / January 1 2016.
Early 2015 I drove to Norway to meet with Jamil, a retired diver who found a new home in Norway after having fled from Palestine in the 1970’s. In Norway he learned for diver and found a job with the Norwegian navy where he was involved in the construction of a submarine base off the Norwegian shore at depth of 150 meters. In 1984, after this job was completed he was offered to take his Yokohama Mix Gas helmet home because replacement equipment had been purchased during the completion of the job. Jamil had kept the helmet for 31 years but being retired and without any interest from his children he decided to sell the helmet. Luckily he found me :o) so now also his helmet is shown in the already existing Yokohama chapter:
http://www.divescrap.com/DiveScrap_INDEX/History_Yokohama.html but also in the new Yokohama chapter where the techniques of this HeO2 ‘recirculator’ helmet are explained: http://www.divescrap.com/DiveScrap_INDEX/History_Yokohama_2.html
I wish you all a happy and peaceful 2016
Jamil’s Robert Kirby / Yokohama mix gas helmet. Click on the image to go to the Yokohama chapter
June 17 2015. New edition of ‘The Journal of Diving History’
Yesterday I found 'The Journal of Diving History' #82 with the mail. An article which I wrote on an exceptional small sized Siebe, Gorman & Co helmet was published in it but unfortunately the most important illustration appears to have been left out of the article: the photographs showing the small helmet next to a standard 12 bolt Siebe, Gorman & Co. Ltd. helmet. This is the only photo which shows how small this older helmet actually is so for the convenience of the readers of 'The Journal of Diving History' I decided to publish the missing photograph on facebook and on this website.
June 14 2015. Can a fake diving helmet be used for diving?
A well respected HDS member from Germany recently provided me with a set of photographs which show a helmet with the Dräger logo stamped in its breastplate, the helmet was damaged and he asked me if I know a workshop where such a helmet could be repaired. I was very much surprised that an HDS member asked me this because to me it was quite clear that the helmet is a fake. And this is exactly why I am convinced that it is important to keep warning divers, collectors and the historical diving society for such fake helmets because apparently even the people who are supposed to recognize a fake do not always spot one. What could happen when someone takes such a helmet into the water believing he uses a genuine helmet? Click the photo to read the article
Above: a fake Dräger helmet. What could happen when someone takes such a helmet into the water believing he uses a genuine helmet? Click the photo to read the article
May 16 2015. Stolen USN MK5 Helmet back with its owner
Today we received good news: The helmet which was stolen from the HDS members who own Frank's Fisherman's Supply on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco (we published an article 1 week ago) is back in the shop. The police found it in the trunk of a car in Daly City.
January 17 2015. ‘Unknown Diving Helmet’ displayed at this website identified!
Since long before this website started, a strange looking diving helmet was known to the Dutch collectors society, but nobody knew who actually made it. This helmet has been displayed at this website since its start as the ‘Unknown Dutch Helmet’. With the help of Professional Diver and Collector of old diving gear Jan van der Slot, we are now able to identify the helmet(!) We still hope to learn the exact story of the helmet but already we know that the helmet was made in Alkmaar, a town famous for its cheese markets in the North West of Holland at only 30 minutes from where I live. And that the makers name was E.P.L. de Hoog. Click at the photograph to visit the updated chapter
December 16 2014. Cool stuff brought up by wreck divers!
The last months I have bee driving around (a lot) through Europe to take photographs of diving helmets for my German Diving Helmet book project. On my way back from Sweden I stopped by at some friends down the road to take a look at some ‘cool stuff’ they raised from a sunken diving ship from the second world war. Two and a half helmet were found in the wreck, plus lots of other parts, some packed in the original boxes. The divers count on recovering the third bonnet to complete the last helmet as well. I was kindly allowed to take home one of the helmets with me, so I could take photographs of it for the book. These pictures will be published in the book only, but for the website the divers shared a bunch of exciting photographs showing the actual salvaging of the equipments (and what happened with it since ...) I tried to convince them to leave the last dirty helmet ‘uncleaned’ and would have loved to take photographs of a complete dressed jake with all salvaged parts, but most of the stuff they have cleaned up already. Still I am very grateful for the photographs they share with the site.
An absolute treasure, so congratulations to the dive team(!) The photographs can be found in the bottom link at the Draeger Index page on divescrap.com, you will get there when clicking at the photo
November 6 2014. Historical Diving Website honored with US Navy Seabee Museum Plaque
Today a large box arrived from the United States of America. Earlier this year the US Navy Seabee Museum in Port Hueneme, California had asked for some hi res. photographs from this website for an exhibition on the history of diving. In return the website is now honored with a beautiful token of appreciation, see photograph here below. The Seabee museum also provided this website with some photographs of the exhibition, these are shown in a special chapter on divescrap.com ; click at the photograph here below for a virtual tour. An even better option is to visit the museum yourself, all info needed for a visit can be found at the museums homepage: http://www.history.navy.mil/museums/Seabee/seabee_museum.htm
Above: the plaque from the Seabee Museum. Both the plaque and the exhibit were sponsored/funded by the National Seabee Divers Association.
July 12 2014. Two New Chapters on the DiveScrap Index
Today 2 new chapters have been published: the first chapter of a series of chapters on Siebe Gorman Divers Accessories showing several variations of the Siebe Gorman Divers Knife with a flat sheath. And a chapter on the London based Diving Apparatus manufacturer Samson Barnett. Click on the images here below to get to the new chapters.
November 23 2013. Websites awarded by Historical Diving Society
The ‘Frank Oschman Award’ 2013 of the Historical Diving Society in England has been given to the creator of the websites www.divinghelmet.nl and www.divescrap.com. The award was handed over on November 23rd 2013 at the annual HDS Conference and Dinner at the RNLI in Poole.
Photograph David L.Dekker (more photographs of the event can be found by clicking on the photo above)
Saturday June 16 - 2012. News Update ‘Fake helmets are still sold’
This email came in today:
Dear “guardian” of a clean business, J
Today, at the front door of my house was offered to me a Siebe Gorman and Draeger-3-bolt diving helmet. The last time I have dived in 1987 with a Dräger helmet. That is why I cannot say of whether the helmets were real. The driver / salesman spoke perfect German. His white VAN had French number plates. He asked for 1900, - € per helmet. He asked several times for when I had that money available. In his car he had several maritime items, such as a "historic war ship" in a glass case. We have agreed to speak together again on Monday at 08:00 clock by mobile and complete the "deal". Let's see what he does when I offering him 500, - € per helmet or less. He said farewell with the announcement that he still has customers are waiting of him in Rostock .
Maybe I prevent another big disillusionment of a com-diver colleague.
Regards/Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Read the whole story about these fake helmet dealers in the chapter ‘Fake Helmet Alert’
Saturday May 12 - 2012. Two new chapters on the website!
The Denayrouze chapters have a third chapter to it. It explains about the Piel SIDEP EP100, EP200 and EP300 helmet, and the Piel ‘Bulle’ helmet model CA 101. Click at the photo here above to enter the new chapter
The Denayrouze chapters have a third chapter to it. It explains about the Piel SIDEP EP100, EP200 and EP300 helmet, and the Piel ‘Bulle’ helmet model CA 101. Click at the photo here above to enter the new chapter
Friday November 25 - 2011 FIVE(!) New Chapters Added To The Website
Today 6 new chapters have been added to the website, all explaining the projects we have been working on since 2004. ‘We’ is Rob Krul and myself, the projects are: a steel Rouquayrol Denayrouze regulator, the ‘Pig Snout Mask’ from the same inventors, the brass regulator backpack as used by the German Imperial Navy and last but not least the Modele 1873 Denayrouze underwater lamp. Click HERE to go to the first of the new chapters.
November 27 2016. Siebe Gorman Knives Chapter extended
Several rare Siebe Gorman knives showed up during the last year so it was time to update the Siebe Gorman knives Chapter. A genuine A.Siebe screw knife (with a new wooden handle) is now my oldest English knife, a Siebe Gorman & Co knife with a Heinke style brass handle is another rare variation, I had never seen this style before. Click on the knives to go to the updated chapter.
March 30 2017. Not much going on at divinghelmet.nl / divescrap.com?
No, I have not forgotten about the websites but I am working each free minute on my book project: a book on German Diving Helmets. I do receive lots of photo's and links for the websites and I hope to find some more time soon to start oploading some more interesting stuff: unkown helmets, knives, documentation, etc.
June 1st 2017. A visit to the original Deane helmet
Yesterday we came back from a short trip to England where (among other destinations) we visited the Diving Museum in Gosport. The museum obtained an absolute 'must see' for any diving historian: the original Deane helmet. This helmet was designed and made for use in smoke by fire fighters but was later modified for use under water. I knew the helmet from an illustration in Robert Davis' book 'Deep Diving and Submarine Operations' but I had never actually seen it. I was surprised to see how small it is but also very impressed when realizing that this helmet was made in the early 19th century and in fact the first of some 20.000 helmets which were manufactured by Siebe Gorman & Co Ltd since. When clicking on the photo you will be taken to the Deane page at the website.
November 1st 2017. A visit to Nuytco in Vancouver
It has been 11 years since we last met with Phil Nuytten, he came to see us here in the Netherlands in 2006 after he had shipped a Desco MK5 breastplate to me with some other stuff in some exchange against old SCUBA diving equipment. After unwrapping the breastplate Phil had shipped to me I found out that in my store I had a Desco bonnet with the same serial number ... Magic! And the story did not end. The completed Desco MK5 helmet found a new home with a diving instructor of the Marine Nationale (French Navy). And only 2 years later this instructor was appointed to a new job: NewtSuit-Pilot for the Marine Nationale ... I call this 'true Magic' ... Since Phils' visit in 2006 it were mainly Chistmas cards which were exchanged and occasionally some old diving gear which was shipped over but the German diving helmet book I have been working on since several years now provided us with an update: last month my son Jonathan and myself we flew to Vancouver to meet up with Phil to discuss his cooperation with Drägerwerk in the 1980's. Until then Dräger's dealership for Phil's NewtSuits was a blanc chapter in my book. Very difficult to catch in words what an impressive trip this turned out to become, we feel very honored that Phil took time to show us around and tell us about his plans of a 'Floating Diving Museum' as well as many other projects he's involved in. We met up with a true artist who started his career as a carver of totempoles and at some stage was attracted by the sea. A sea which he initially explored with a home built rebreather and many years later with a home built submarine ...
Above left: The 1951 Desco MK5 helmet. In 2006 Phil had shipped the breastplate to me, I already had the bonnet and found that the serial numbers of both parts were identical. Middle: Phil in the Netherlands in 2006 and me holding Jonathan. Right: Phil shows his old office, Jonathan now standing on his feet. One last remark concerning the photo of the Desco MK5: a crook on ebay somehow took the photo from a website and had fridge-magnets made of it. This is one of the reasons why I marked all other photo's on this website.
June 7 2018. Site updates
Every now and then a web page is updated but I do not always take the time to announce it in the news chapter. Last month however I was lucky enough to have been asked to sell this rare reclaim helmet for a friend, which allowed me to take some photo's of it in my studio. Today I made a new history- and an images page for it so that is worth mentioning, its also good to give a sign of life every now and then. The new pages can be found in the English Chapter in the International Index: Gas Services Offshore Ltd. (or click on the helmet to get there).
September 29/30 2018. Helmet Diving Weekend am Achensee, Austria
As indicated on this website Austrian Helmet Diving Passionate George Decristoforo had organized a Helmet Diving Weekend am Achensee in Austria. This year he invited members of the Historische Tauchergesellschaft from Germany to come over and 4 Germans, 1 Greek and one Dutchman showed up. We enjoyed a truly nice weekend with lots of diving, good food and drinks and great weather. Next year we hope to be back and will bring some more helmets over. Thanks to George and Ulli for organizing the event.
Photo above: special thanks to rescue diver Gudrun for test-diving the equipment before the others went for a dip. More photo's can be found by clicking on the photo above.
Augustus 25 2018. Northern Divers Meeting in Ebeltoft Denmark
Last weekend we attended the annual Northern Divers Meeting which for this year was organized by the Danish Dykkehistorisk Selskab. Next to excelent food and interesting lectures the participants were offered a dive with a replica Diving Bell as originally manufactured in the 18th century by Marten Triewald, see photo's here below. Participants from Finland had brought the bell with them. Also dives could be made with a Dräger DM 40 rebreather equipment, a Morse MK 5 US Navy equipment, the Danish 2 bolt equipment, a Dräger 138 rebreather and the Miller Dunn 'Divinghood Style 3' shallow water helmet, all provided by Philip Nathansen. Some participants brought their own vintage SCUBA set. Some 300 photo's of the event are listed in the DiveScrap index, click on the photo's here below to get to the pages.
Photo's above: diving with the replica Diving Bell as originally manufactured in the 18th century by Marten Triewald. Participants from Finland had brought the bell with them. Click on a photo to be taken to the page with all 300 photo's taken during the event. Photo's David L.Dekker
February 18 2019. The 'Ateliers Actin-Jourdin' helmet discovered
Until this morning I had never heard of this company but there it is: a French 3 bolt helmet manufactured by the 'Ateliers Actin-Jourdin' from Gennevilliers, France. This helmet found a new home in the 'Musée de la Batellerie et des Voies Navigables' in Conflans Sainte-Honorine, France (close to Paris). The exact address of the museum can be found in the Index, just click at the helmet.
August 1 2019. How Italian Immigrant Fiorentino Gennaro Troisi founded the Batteryless Telephone Equipment Co. Inc.
Two days ago Miss Troisi, a lady from Italy contacted me through this website. Her uncle, Italian Immigrant Fiorentino Gennaro Troisi, had left Italy for a trip to the USA in 1910. In the USA het got involved in the developement of a 'Batteryless Telephone' system and soon after he founded the 'Batteryless Telephone Equipment Co. Inc.' in Pittsburg Pensylvania. The documents, photo's and family history she has could fill a book. I wrote down some of the facts for this websites' Index. Also I put Miss Troisi in contact with the Italian Historical Diving Society who will certainly put a more important article together about this amazing story. This article I hope to publish on this website. For now you can click at the photo's above to read the updated history chapter and see some amazing old photo's on the next page.
January 1st 2021. Unknown Dutch Diving Helmet Identified.
At first sight this helmet seemed to be a Siebe Gorman but since many details did not match a Siebe Gorman I initially contacted some friends in Italy to ask if this helmet could be of Italian origin: early Italian helmets are close copies of Siebe Gorman helmets. The answer was no, the helmet did not match any known Italian helmet neither. I decided to purchase the helmet and was told by the owner that his father and grand father both had been commercial divers on Dutch rivers, mostly active around the Dutch town of Maasbracht, and that this was the helmet they had used. A closer inspection learned that only the communications connector was British made, all other parts were considered to have been manufactured somewhere else: possibly in the Netherlands. A call for help with the identification of the helmet at this page resulted in a reaction from a Diving Company in Wessem, Holland: close to Maasbracht. Adri, the company owner told me that he knew the man who had dived this helmet in the 1950's and gave me his telephone number ... A new chapter on the website is the result: just click the helmet!
December 22nd 2022. Last Seasons Greetings Card from Holland, the end of Davids Import
In January 1994 I founded 'Davids Import', at the time the only way to legally exist here in Holland when you did not have papers to open a normal shop, nor wanted to work as an employee nor live on welfare money. I had been a 'free man' wandering around Europe for 6 years without an official address, had lived in France and Spain in a van for a year and worked there as a diver. Lived in a 'squat house' here in Holland for a year and lived with a girlfriend in Austria for a couple of years. But in 1994 I was on my way becoming a dad and needed a more stable way of life so in order to be able to earn money and pay bills like everyone else, I needed some sort of registration and an import bussiness was the easiest way ...
In order to keep the business alive we traveled 'around the globe' looking for old diving helmets. By car we drove all around Europe as far as to Leningrad, by plane to Thailand, Burma, Venezuela, North America etc. We did not make a fortune but we had a very 'rich' life ...
We are now 29 years further in time and due to circumstances that we can do nothing about we have to move away from where we have been living since 1994. For about a year we have been looking for a new place, mainly in France but also in Germany and last summer we found a new place in France. Now some 2 months ago we actually bought it. We started preparing some major renovations there and we will be moving there during the summer of 2023.
But within a couple of days I will have to close down my company here in Holland, I simply cannot afford to prepay taxes for 2023: need the savings for the renovation of the new house. Here in Holland the government estimates your income based on incomes of earlier years and before even having earned the money you have to pay the taxes. This can be (has been) extremely difficult while running a small bussiness. So before 2023 starts I have to close down the company here and next year I will start up a new business in France. Updates will follow on the website.
So right now we have such a lot things going on that I have had no time for a proper 'card'. Next Christmas we will be living in France and from there I will send cards to all friends who sent us a card this year ...
I should have older ones too but for now I just uploaded cards from between 2003 and 2021. These older ones are paper cards from the 'pre-digital-era' and these will probably show up when we move to France; I will list them on this page after I found them ...
So for the last time from Holland:
Best wishes for the New Year!
July 18 2022. divinghelmet.nl and divescrap.com awarded the Nick Icorn Award 2022.
The 'Nick Icorn' Award for 2022 has been granted to the creator of the websites www.divinghelmet.nl and www.divescrap.com. In the late 1990's I sold on ebay (SWIMXS) and Nick was a regular buyer back then. Since we lived to far apart unfortunately we never met but I am proud to have received this award and to be involved in a way to assure Nick will be remembered for his contribution to the world of historical diving. The entire article can be found by clicking on the scan. Many thanks to my friend Matt of Oceaneering who visited me today and who donated me his magazine so I could make a scan of the article.
September 16, 17 and 18 2022. III Vintage Underwater Camera Meeting in Lloret de Mar, Spain
The Barcelona Underwater Camera Museum organized the 3rd 'Vintage Underwater Camera Meeting’ on September 16, 17 and 18, 2022 in Lloret de Mar, Spain. Myself I was present there with my Dutch Army 'Pontonniers' Siebe Gorman Diving Equipment. On Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September it was be possible to take photo's of the helmet diver under water. The diver of duty was Antonio of the Spanish Armada (Navy). The album below shows our own surface photographs (taken by my wife Hanna en myself) and some beautiful underwater photo’s taken by the Spanish Photographer Enrique Fernandez. The bleu ROV marked ‘Policia’ etc. was at the scene to cover the diver underwater and the footage was streamed live, spectators on the beach showed us on their iPhones what was happening under water. Many thanks to the Police Divers Unit of Lloret de Mar for their assistance. And many thanks of course to Andrés Claros and his friends of the Barcelona Underwater Camera Museum for organizing this event, thanks to the Dolphins Diving Center in Lloret de Mar for the air they provided and for their taxi service to bring our gear to the beach by quad. We hope to be back next year! ...
The card above is from 2003 and it was the first one which was digitally edited. I scanned 5 paper photo's (Leica) to stick them together as the 'three Kings heading for the manger with Jezus'. The Citroen Deux-Chevaux I had found / shot along the road in the French Pyrenees, the Dräger helmet I had found / obtained in Paris.