Andrew J. MORSE & Son, Inc.

In 1837 a partnership of Morse and Fletcher was formed for the manufacture of brass goods. Their first location was at the corner of Water and Congress Streets in Boston Massachusetts USA. After a few years Mr Fletcher retired, and in 1864 the firm became ‘Andrew J. Morse & Son. Andrew J. Morse died in 1881, and the business was carried on until 1905 under the same name by his son, William F. Morse. In 1905 Mr Morse retired. The business was transferred to his daughter and her husband, Elizabeth and Mark A. Lawton. The corporation of Andrew J. Morse & Son, Inc. was formed. In 1940 the name of Morse was then incorporated as ‘Morse Diving Equipment Company Incorporated’ In 1998 the name of Morse was incorporated to ‘Morse Diving Inc.’ when it was purchased by Kenneth Downey, an employee. Downey sold the company in 2014 to Watson "Robbie" Holland, and the name changed, yet again, to Morse International. A legal dispute arose between Downey and Watson that resulted in Downey filing bankruptcy and as a result Diving Equipment and Supply Company (DESCO) gained ownership in 2016. DESCO's reverted back to the name A J Morse & Son. DESCO's business plan is to bring back the quality and products associated with the earlier name and plans on re-introducing a breast plate feed (air being fed into the breast plate rather than the bonnet) on a design from the 1910s as its first offering.

During the first world war the US navy developed the MK5 Diving Helmet, before then they used the English Siebe Gorman & Co Ltd diving apparatus and earlier US built apparatus. Also during the second world war Morse supplied diving equipment to the US military, but now the ‘US Navy MK5 Mod 1 Diving Helmet’, a standardized MK5 helmet with most parts being interchangeable with other suppliers of such helmets to the military. A blueprint was spread in 1942.  With the invasions in Europe during the second world war, the US military brought a quantity of Diving Equipments with them to Europe. Some of these wartime helmets survived but most have modifications made to them by the french who preferred lighter helmets with more visibility. Other (commercial) models of helmets manufactured by Morse hardly ever made it to Europe.

With thanks to Lee Selisky for his kind help with this chapter


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