In the late 1960-ies, David Clark from Worcester, Massachusetts, designed and produced the S-2002 freeflow diving helmet. As you can see it had an unusual device to bring the exhaled air to the top of the helmet, thus preventing blocking the divers sight. This diving helmet was tested by and for use in the US Navy. Photo courtesy of Leon Lyons.

Recently, our regular visitor Gary L. Harris, contributed the following valuable information:

"The David Clark Company started out in the 1940's building women's girdles and braziers. They are famous for manufacturing the modern "Cross-Your-Heart  Living Bra". In the 1940's during WW-II, David Clark went to the U.S. Government to offer his fabric manufacturing services to build experimental "G" suits. These are worn by fighter pilots to allow them to stand the increased violent gravity forces in tight turns while involved in combat maneuvers. Latter the Clark Company built the earliest partial pressure suits for high altitude pilots. Then in the middle 1950's the David Clark company began building full pressure suits for the American high altitude hypersonic X-15 rocket plane. They built the model AP-22-S for the X-15 and eventually built pressure space suits for the American Gemini space program. Today they manufacture the ACES Launch and Escape Suit for the Space Shuttle. The ACES is that bright orange suit shuttle astronauts wear during launch and re-entry (but not for work outside the space vehicle). However, in the late 1960's the David Clark Co. ventured into the deep diving mixed gas field. 

They borrowed information and designs from their space helmets and applied it to diving helmet design. See bottom of page for an example. This hat was built of fiberglass and brass. It had a clear polycarbonate face piece with a small 12 x 6 cm flat area, to avoid in-water seeing distortions. The neck aperture and ring on the early hats were modeled on an American pressure cooker mechanical seal (see the picture). This mechanism may seem funny, but Ben Miller's helmet neck ring seal used a Sears Company pressure cooker Latex gasket too, a fact not widely known. The early David Clark hat's were generally plumbed into a recirculator back-pack built by General Electric Company. The early hats were very unpopular as they were clumsy, too buoyant, and had poor seeing ability through the rounded faceport. They used chest and back weights, that were suspended from straps attached to the helmet neck ring. When the Rat Hat came out the Clark Company borrowed many of its features, which explains the resemblance. However, the David Clark firm got completely out of the diving manufacturing business in the early 1970's because it is very hard to turn a profit in the commercial market.

Today the David Clark Company manufactures latex gloves and still builds pressure suits for NASA and The World's Air Forces. The suit they produce is the ACES ( advanced crew escape suit) They also have other business interests. A Dave Clark Company helmet helmet is very rare. David Clark who is now deceased, never designed any of the diving equipment that bears his name."

Thanks once again Gary!

Early David Clark diving helmet design, based on a space helmet.
Photo courtesy of Gary L. Harris.