The competitions’ helmets made by Siebe, Gorman & Co. 

With the discovery of the advantages of being able to work underwater, more companies started to manufacture diving apparatus of various types. Mainly in continental Europe, several interesting designs were manufactured. Around 1900 Siebe, Gorman & Co. started to produce diving apparatus of ‘continental design’ in addition to their normal 12 bolt helmet. Their 1902 sales catalogue illustrates the following continental-type helmets on offer:

The Denayrouze Charles Petit 1889 helmet made by Siebe, Gorman & Co. 

The 1905 Siebe Gorman & Co. sales catalogue shows one helmet with a badge that is marked ‘Siebe, Gorman & Co.’. This first style of badge indicates that this helmet was manufactured circa 1900 - 1904. I believe this to be the first helmet design of the company that differs from their normal 12-bolt design. The catalogue refers to the helmet as the ‘Lock Helmet’, but the helmet is identical to the ‘Denayrouze Charles Petit helmet model of 1889’. Augustus Siebe’s son, Henry H. Siebe lived in France for quite some time before joining the family firm in 1870. Therefore it is possible that he may have already been familiar with the 1889 ‘Denayrouze Charles Petit helmet. (See chapter: ‘1885 Ch. Petit / Denayrouze’ for further details).

This rare Siebe, Gorman & Co. ‘Lock Helmet’ I discovered in Madrid during the early 1990s. To date, two other helmets know to be identical to this one are in the collection of the British Museum (London) and in a private collection in England. Photographs, David L.Dekker

In 1881 the company name changed once more to ‘SIEBE, GORMAN & Co.’ The first helmets produced had the company name still stamped directly into the copper of the breastplate, while later ones had a ‘cast brass company badge’ instead. The side window frames are more heavily built compared to the previous oval side-window frames of the Siebe & Gorman helmet of circa 1870. The thin, convex window glass changes to thick, flat, plain glass. Bars of the side-window grills are at two levels (vertical bars pass over the horizontal ones). The design and position of the exhaust valve has also changed. The helmet shown above was discovered in Madrid in 1998. Photographs, David L.Dekker

Siebe, Gorman & Co 12-bolt helmet ( with the company name stamped in the breastplate and thick oval side windows )

1900. Siebe, Gorman & Co 12-bolt helmet ( with a cast brass company badge riveted onto the breastplate )

Another SIEBE GORMAN & Co. helmet which shows significant wear compared to the previous helmet. Notice it no longer has the company name stamped directly into the breastplate, but has a cast brass company badge instead. The Braille wing nuts on this helmet are new but do resemble the wing nuts from an original helmet. This helmet was discovered in the Northern Europe in 2004. Photographs, David L. Dekker

A dutch diver in a Siebe, Gorman & Co equipment at working  a canal near the dutch Town Eindhoven. Photo collection David L.Dekker.

1881. Siebe, Gorman & Co.

In 1881 the company name changed once more to ‘SIEBE, GORMAN & Co.’

Siebe, Gorman & Co. 6 bolt ‘British Admiralty Pattern B’ helmet

Before 1900 the British Admiralty (Navy) and British Royal Engineers used the ‘standard’ Siebe, Gorman & Co. 12-bolt helmets. Later on they also adopted the 6-bolt helmet. The 12-bolt helmet was called the ‘British Admiralty Pattern A’ helmet; the 6-bolt helmet was called the ‘British Admiralty Pattern B‘ helmet. Later on, when the 12-bolt helmet was no longer used with the Admiralty, the 6-bolt helmet became simply known as the ‘Admiralty Pattern’ helmet. The first Siebe, Gorman catalogue (from my archive) in which a 6-bolt helmet is shown can be seen in the 1905 edition. It depicts the helmet with a cast company badge with the ‘Siebe, Gorman & Co.’ name on it. I believe this dates the introduction of this helmet to about 1900 - 1904.

The Heinke ‘Pearler’ helmets made by Siebe, Gorman & Co.

Charles ‘Edwin’ Heinke (1818-1869) was the second son of Gotthilf ‘Frederick’ Heinke who was an immigrant coppersmith from Prussia. G.F. Heinke started the family business around 1818 at 103 Great Portland Street, London. Later on (around 1844), Charles E. Heinke was steering the family firm more towards submarine engineering (also see chapter: ‘1844 Heinke’). The helmet shown below has a heavy, bronze breastplate with a characteristic square shape. From my archive, this Heinke helmet pattern is first seen in the Siebe Gorman & Co. Ltd. sales catalogue of 1905, and last seen in their circa 1958 ‘D5’ sales catalogue. Siebe, Gorman & Co. Ltd. took over the Heinke Company about 1960.

The Denayrouze 3-bolt helmets made by Siebe, Gorman & Co.

Another French style of helmet illustrated in the 1905 Siebe Gorman & Co Ltd. sales catalogue is the ‘Denayrouze’ designed, 3-bolt helmet which is described as the ‘Continental’ diving helmet. The corselet badge is absent on this helmet design.

This helmet is in near perfect condition, I found it in the Netherlands. Photographs, David L.Dekker

And with the French style helmets Siebe, Gorman & Co Ltd. also produced the French air-pumps for sale (see ‘Rouquayrol Denayrouze’ in the French chapter for more details).

Unfortunately there are no photographs of a Siebe, Gorman ‘Pearler’ style helmet in my archive. (genuine Heinke ‘Pearler’ helmet and apparatus is shown in the chapter ‘Heinke’)

Siebe, Gorman & Co 8 bolt helmet

Above left: Siebe Gorman & Co. 8-bolt helmet illustrated in sales catalogue ‘D’ (1909). Right: an original 8-bolt helmet manufactured in Holland by Bikkers of Rotterdam (see: ‘Bikkers, Rotterdam’ in the chapter Holland ). From: Bikkers helmet, Jaap Stenger collection; photographs, David L.Dekker


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