Siebe Gorman & CO.



All the A SIEBE helmets did not have nametags but the name was stamped into the breastplate.
The company A SIEBE was reformed as SIEBE & GORMAN in 1870 so we can date these helmets to before that time.

This is the second design found on Siebe Gorman helmets or more accuratley the first design if you exclude the A Siebe stamp
and could be found on helmets dating from 1870 to 1880 when the name of the company changed to Siebe Gorman & Co.

This is the third style of stamped breastplate and dates from 1880.

Siebe Gorman & CO became a limited Company in 1905. This was the style of badge they adopted.
It is a cast brass badge which was riveted to the breastplate, later the badge was redesigned with scrolls.

This helmet dates to between 1880 and 1904. We can tell this because of the style of the name stamped into the breastplate.
The corselet has the butterfly style wing nuts and the helmet the teardrop design spitcock lever. On the left of the helmet is a speaker tube connection used for communication between the diver and the surface attendant. There is one lashing eye to the top of the helmet and one to the rear of the helmet.
Interior views showing the speaker and the general arrangement of the air train which distributes fresh air over the helmet windows..
Picture of the corselet showing how, on earlier helmets the name was stamped into the breastplate.
The left hand drawing of the helmet comes from the Manual for Divers dated 1895 and shows the Signalman’s belt with ear and mouthpieces attached to
the end of the speaking tube. The right hand illustration shows the picture of the helmet which bears the following description.  This patented invention is
of the greatest utility, particularly on Harbour works and in surveying for foundations. A conversation can be held with the diver, and his replies distinctly
heard. The hearing apparatus consists of a speaking tube of vulcanised India rubber, and, in direct connection with the hearing and speaking disc fixed
in the interior of the helmet a mouthpiece being fixed at the other extremity of the tube for the use of the attendant or person requiring to converse with
the diver. When in use for greater depths there is a second disc placed on the attendant’s end of the tube so that between the 2 discs there is only the
normal pressure of the atmosphere. This speaking apparatus can be fitted to any diving helmet or Bell. A blank cap is also provided, so that, in case
the speaking apparatus is not required to be used, the latter can be disconnected and the helmet used without by screwing on the blank cap.

The helmet illustrated in the right hand picture is fitted with an Electric Breast lamp

This is the 2nd style of 12 bolt from Siebe Gorman and it was used from 1880 to 1904. The name is stamped into the copper breastplate.
There are wing nuts securing the brailles and there is a teardrop spitcock handle. We see however this helmet has been
modified by the removal of the English exhaust which has been replaced by a Swedish exhaust.
There has also been a telephone added to the helmet when the modifications were made.

A close examination of the exhaust reveals it was made by Erik Andersson from a design by Arne Zetterstrom.
The extensive solder around this area partly masks the area where the Siebe Gorman exhaust has been removed.
The side view reveals the side window grills have been removed. Additional lashing eyes have been added to the helmet.

To find out more about the Swedish connection visit the Sweden chapter

Another older style Helmet. The spitcock is of the teardrop design. The rear view clearly shows the helmet has been repaired and the air inlet
gooseneck has been reinforced, possibly at the factory. Notice the nameplate area the outline of the badge can be seen but there is no badge present.

On close examination of the badge area although the badge outline is clearly present the breastplate is stamped with the makers name.
This suggests the helmet may have been returned to the factory for repair and a badge has been fitted.
The badge has since been removed although the rivets can clearly be seen. The serial number is in the 9000 range.

Photo courtesy of the Clint Green Collection

In 1905 Helmets were fitted with a heavy cast brass name tag bearing the name Siebe, Gorman & Co .Ltd. This badge had a short life and around 1908
the traditional flat brass badge came into use. This 12 bolt helmet with a reinforced dome has a bulge to the rear of the helmet. This houses a telephone
speaker that was added at a later date. The side window grills have also been removed , a common diver modification. The spitcock is now the newer
design with a tapered lever and is now generally fitted to the left of the helmet for operation by the diver's right hand.

Judging from the nametag style, this also is an older Siebe helmet. 
At the rear is a kind of lump sticking out. This is not original. We think it holds the transceiver that was later built in.

A 12 bolt Siebe Gorman helmet with the unusual round side ports. This helmet has the thicker cast brass badge. Photo courtesy of Eero Vastapuu of Finland.
A 12 bolt helmet which has been greatly modified for the Greek Sponge Diving Industry.
All the ports have been replaced and a new front top port has been added. This is not the usual style of window seen an a 4 port helmet.
The wing nuts have been replaced and the spitcock removed and a patch has been soldered over the aperture.
The brales are the thicker and more rounded style found on a 6 bolt pattern suggesting this may have originally been a different style of breastplate, the RH Davis pattern.
The rear view shows the exhaust may have been modified and the telephone elbow removed. This view also shows the low profile of the ports which is associated with the Sponge diving industry.

Photos by Diving Heritage

Here is helmet 17908, just after it arrived in the museum. Over the years this beauty got a brown patina. 
The caps are missing and there are some dents in the breastplate.

Same helmet, posing in the snow, a couple of days later. The major dents are gone, caps installed, ropes to hold airhose and comm wire. Now, this helmet is fitted with a welding lens faceplate. To clean helmets, we use fine steelwool pads and fine rubbing compound. You dip the pad in the compound and make circular movements over the surface. Over time, the helmet will darken again and gain a beautiful patina.

Siebe Gorman 12-bolt for the American market

At present we believe 6 of these helmets are known to exist. The helmet and breastplate are of the standard Siebe Gorman pattern.

The side ports have been positioned horizontally in common with some commercial Morse and DESCO helmets from America.

The exhaust is of the banana style as used on the Mark V helmets. There is a front positioned locking device and the weight studs are similar to those seen on the Mark V helmet. The telephone cup protrudes from the top of the helmet unlike the traditional positioning of the English Speaker which is housed wholly inside the helmet dome. Speculation suggests that these helmets were built for an American company working in The North Sea, perhaps Divecon or Ocean Systems.

12 Bolt helmet for the Swedish Navy

From the picture above the front of the helmet appears to be a usual pattern tinned 12 bolt helmet. However the rear reveals a modified bonnet.
The exhaust valve has been removed and the Swedish pattern exhaust had been fitted. The telephone connector has also been replaced
with a slimmer style gooseneck. The air inlet connector is the usual one . The patches are clearly visible and are factory fitted.

Siebe Gorman 12-bolt Royal Dutch Engineers

Just as the Swedish Navy had the 12 bolt Siebe Gorman helmet modified , so did the Royal Dutch Engineers .The corselet was fitted with an additional air inlet. The chest weigh was replaced by an air chest weight supplied by the Draeger Company in Germany. A hose connected the chest weight to the corselet. The weight lugs were replaced by Draeger type hooks. The Diver was able to draw air from the air cylinders in the chest weight in the event the air supply from the surface became interrupted.

The last Siebe?

Here you see a rare Siebe Gorman 12-bolt helmet. The helmet was probably made after 1979 for the Russians. It carries serial number 005. By the nametag you can tell it is a recent hat. What makes it so special is that by 1979 the Superlight helmets found their way to the world of commercial diving. Therefore the chance of this being one of the last Siebe Gorman helmets ever made is big ! Courtesy of our buddy Zarko Sajic.