the scrapbook of diving history


2006 Siebe, Gorman & Co Ltd. are ‘made in India’

The first time I received photos of the ‘Indian' made (fake) Siebe, Gorman 12-bolt helmets I found it hard to believe that they was actually reproduction helmets. It was only a couple of years after the flood of  reproduction German helmets had come on to the market that these new fakes started to appear in the English market. The fake Siebe, Gorman helmets started to show up in antiques shops, auctions and later on eBay. The trail led to Mumbai, India where a dealer was providing large quantities of 12-bolt Siebe, Gorman & Co Ltd. helmets with the same finished look and all with the same ‘mistakes’ on them. One clearly recognizable mistake were the grills of the side-windows which were soldered to the helmet... on a genuine helmet that was never done because the grills are kept in place by bolts which are tightened from the inside of the helmet. The grills and glass are then sealed with putty and not using solder. On the fake helmet the grills are kept in place both by being soldered to the bonnet and with bolts which are tightened from the inside.

The photos below were taken at the warehouse of a dealer in England by a friend of mine (thanks John)

These helmets look quite convincing but they are still only good looking copies (!).  A person who has investigated these 12-bolt helmets in some detail is Dr. Mike Burchett of the English branch of the ‘Historical Diving Society’. He was sold two of these so-called 'authentic' Siebe, Gorman helmets by an unsuspecting dealer (at a genuine price) but later found out there were many things wrong with them. Last year he published a report on these helmets which contains a list with dozens of ‘mistakes’ incorporated during their manufacture in India. Since the news of these fake helmets has spread they have appeared on eBay completely ‘cleaned up’ (with tinning removed and the copper polished) to make them look different. This is a clear and fraudulent attempt to pass them on in order to recoup their value before it is too late ... Even more astonishing is the fact that the Indian supplier of these helmets opened a website with the name ‘Siebe Gorman’ inclusive in website title. He kindly warns people about fake helmets on the market but then cynically offers his own reproductions for sale as genuine helmets (!). If you have any doubts about a Siebe, Gorman helmet you have been offered or that is in your possession since 2005 then send some photos to me and I will give you my opinion.