Chinese TF 12 bolt helmets (photo above) are copies from the Japanese diving helmet such as made by TOA. Also Koreans copied the Japanese helmets and all these helmet have in common that it are slightly smaller versions of the Siebe Gorman & Co Ltd 12 bolt helmets.

Chinese diving equipment


the scrapbook of diving history

Photo above: The Chinese also manufactured a helium helmet which was a copy from the Russian GMS3m helium helmet.

The Chinese also manufacture a 3 bolt helmet (TF3) which are copies of the soviet Russian 3 bolt helmets except for the air connector and exhaust valve which are identical to the valves on the TF12 (and copied from Japan)

In the nineteen nineties they offered a copy of the Kirby Morgan ‘Superlite 17‘ helmet for sale but even though these were very cheap the quality was very poor. Still there were dealers who saw a profit in importing these to fit them with some genuine DSI parts and sell them on as refurbished second hand Kirby’s. Another project was the reproduction of the german DM220 diving apparatus as manufactured by Draegerwerk, Lübeck. These were offered for sale as the TF88 but these helmets were slightly different from the real thing (see photo’s in the image bank below)

The prices for Chinese diving equipment have been doubled each year for the last couple of years, so from the original $300 per helmet they now cost over $1600 and that is FOB Beijing China. Early Chinese diving helmets are well built and well finished but like the helmets made in Russia: back in the old days the workers were paid per hour, now they are paid per helmet. And that clearly shows in the finish.