Cabirol was a French businessman who entered the diving business around 1840. At first he produced diving suits with a special cottonwool material. Also, he developed life jackets.
Around 1842, Cabirol started producing diving helmets. His material showed a strong resemblance with Augustus Siebes' material. The suit featured about the same collar with 12 bolts. The helmet had some minor improvements and one big one. His helmet had a top window !
In 1855 Cabirol showd his helmet on the International Exhibition ("Exposition Universelle") in Paris. Also, English producers like Siebe, Heinke and Tyler were present there. Cabirol referred to his equipment as the "Scaphandre Cabirol" and offered it for about half the price his English competitors asked.
Photo courtesy of Philippe Damon
The helmet was attached to the suit by 12 bolts. The suit had a double security system: air came in via a hose that was close to the right ear. It featured a manually adjustable valve. A second hose went straight to the mouth, for safety. This hose was called "the whistle". Because of Cabirols' public experiments this gear was very popular. He ones sent a convict down to 40 meters.
All this convinced the French admiralty to use this equipment. In 1857 Cabirol received the first order. Meantime he developed a lighter diving pump that only weighd 70 kilograms.
After 1865 the Cabirol helmets started to get pushed aside by the Rouquayrol-Denayrouze regulator equipment and from 1873 by the 3-bolt helmet that they developed also. This 3 bolt helmet was suitable for the regulator equipment as well as surface supplied air. On top of this the joint between helmet and collar was absolute watertight.
Maybe he used some ideas from other manufacturers but Cabirol deserves the credit for coming up with the first 4 light helmet. Many others soon followed his example. Only a few stuck to Siebe's 3 light design.
One of the worlds' first 4-light beauties.
Photo courtesy of Philippe Damon.
A tinned Cabirol helmet.
Notice the exhaust valve is missing.
Photo courtesy of Leon Lyons.
helmets are very beautiful, rare and therefore very valuable.
See more French diving helmets in the virtual helmet collection.