‘Friedrich Flohr established his diving apparatus company in Kiel during 1890 and started to manufactured apparatus of the French Denayrouze design with 3-bolt helmets and regulator backpacks. Later on he also produced helmets for ventilated (free flow) use.

A diver wearing Fr. Flohr diving apparatus while at work on the construction of the Waalbridge in Nijmegen during 1935. Photograph, Regionaal Archief Nijmegen.

In 1909 Flohr patented a helmet with a quick release mechanism to jettison the weights on the helmet. The weights could be quickly released in an emergency and the diver could then float to the surface. The above Illustration is a page from the Fr. Flohr sales catalogue detailing the quick release mechanism.

A beautiful old Fr. Flohr helmet which I found in Germany a couple of years ago. Photographs David L.Dekker

The ‘Van de Akker’ Diving Company of Vlissingen, Holland. Maybe a little hard to see, but the 3-bolt helmet under the arm of the man in the middle at the photo is a Fr.Flohr helmet. The quick release system was eventually replaced with two normal stud mounts for weights. Photograph, David L.Dekker collection.

Thursday the 19th of may 2011: Rob Krul and myself we test-dived an antique equipment from my collection: a 3 bolt helmet manufactured by Franz Clouth of Köln-Nippes, Germany with attached to it a genuine regulator backpack manufactured by Friedrich Flohr of Kiel, Germany. The helmet I have in my collection since several years and Rob and myself we had already built a small series of replica regulator backpacks for it, with the intention to dive with it. But in November 2010 a genuine regulator backpack showed up: a friend in Germany had found it in a house in Flensburg. The house had belonged to a retired diver and when the old man had died the family had put the house for sale on condition that the buyer had to take all that was in it too. When clearing out the Attic a pair of brass divers shoes was found and the regulator backpack. Unfortunately my friend had started taking off the patina from one side of the backpack which made it necessary for me to ‘finnish the job’. I smoothened up the surface he had cleaned ( he had used something very rough ) and took away the dirt from the rest of the apparatus without touching the patina. The original diaphragm was still on the apparatus but it was hard and dry. So before taking the regulator to the water I had cleaned it, installed a ‘Bec de Canard’ from a Mistral regulator ( see the ‘La Spirotechnique’ chapter ) and a new diaphragm which Rob had made for me. We did not use a 3 bolt suit but an ex british navy AVON suit and put the helmet on as an ‘open helmet’. For security I attached a whip with a USN MK5 valve to the connection at the back of the helmet, the regulator backpack we attached to the connection at the left side of the helmet. Each air-hose had its own buffer-tank so when the regulator would have a problem I could just open the valve, also the valve appeared to be handy to blow out the rising water when descending.

Rob assist me to get the equipment on and then we can adjust the pressure to the regulator ( which should be at 1 bar over ambient pressure )

As soon as I was underwater the helmet started flooding: apparently there was air escaping somewhere. I used the MK5 valve to keep the water out and concentrated on the regulator which was breathing ‘super smooth’ ...  I stayed under water for a short time only, Rob also wanted to give it a try ...

Then it was Rob’s turn: I explained him the problem with the flooding helmet and while Rob stayed close to the surface I could look to see where the air escaped: the problem were both the neck-ring gasket and the exhaust-valve. When Rob got out of the water we took the exhaust-valve apart: it was bent and did not close. Rob put it in a lathe and straightened it, then he cleaned the valve and the housing and put it back together. The leak at the neck-ring was due to the lack of the rubber collar of a suit: we will use 2 rubber gaskets next time.

The regulator when I had found it, unfortunately someone had started cleaning it, but luckily it was all complete.

Thursday the 19th of May 2011: test-diving a Flohr regulator and Clouth helmet

The article here below was originally published in the NEWS chapter of www.divinghelmet.nl

Do you have / know a Flohr helmet for sale? Please contact me.

Haben Sie ein Flohr Taucherhelm zu verkaufen? Bitte schicken Sie mir ein Email.

Est ce que avez vous a vendre un casque Flohr? SVP contactez moi, merci.


1890 Friedrich Flohr, Kiel


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