1904. Siebe, Gorman & Co.Ltd.

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(part 2 of ‘1839 Augustus Siebe’)

I have no records of any Augustus Siebe helmets being imported in the Netherlands, but helmets of his design were certainly imported and used in Holland after his death in 1872.  The name of his company changes from ‘A.Siebe’ to ‘Siebe & Gorman’ in 1870; then to ‘Siebe, Gorman & Co.’ in 1890. The early part of the company’s history is given in chapter: ‘1839 Augustus Siebe’ and ends with the ‘Siebe, Gorman & Co’ chapter which covers the period from 1890 to 1904.

1904. Siebe, Gorman & Co. Ltd. 12-bolt helmet (with a cast brass badge riveted on the breastplate showing the company name)

I have no records of any Augustus Siebe helmets being imported in the Netherlands, but helmets of his design were certainly imported and used in Holland after his death in 1872.  The name of his company changes from ‘A.Siebe’ to ‘Siebe & Gorman’ in 1870; then to ‘Siebe, Gorman & Co.’ in 1890. The early part of the company’s history is given in chapter: ‘1839 Augustus Siebe’ and ends with the ‘Siebe, Gorman & Co’ chapter which covers the period from 1890 to 1904.

A younger version of a ‘SIEBE GORMAN & Co. Ltd’ helmet which has a flat brass badge. The badge with this final company name exists in almost a dozen different variations. This helmet was used with the ‘South African Railways’ and according to its serial number it should be built around 1958. Photographs, David L.Dekker

1958. Siebe, Gorman & Co. Ltd. 12-bolt helmet (with a flat brass badge riveted onto the breastplate showing the company name)

And last but not least: the youngest version of a ‘SIEBE GORMAN & Co. Ltd’ helmet which has a flat brass badge with only the words ‘SIEBE GORMAN’ on it. This helmet was built after 1975, the year that the company moved from London to Gwent, Wales. The sales of the old style copper helmets had dropped dramatically by then and Siebe Gorman decided not to move the old craftsmen along, they were sent home instead. When the company did get orders for copper helmets afterwards they were made of a lesser quality: the air ducts were missing inside the helmet, the tunnel of the exhaust valve was missing, the texts at the brailes were missing too. This helmet spent its life in the store room of a diving company in Belgium and according to its serial number it is currently the youngest Siebe Gorman helmet around. Do you have or know a Siebe Gorman helmet with a serial number higher then 19904 then please contact me. Thanks.. Photographs, David L.Dekker

1975 / 1980. Siebe, Gorman & Co. Ltd. 12-bolt helmet (with a flat brass badge riveted onto the breastplate showing just ‘SIEBE GORMAN’)

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 1905 sales catalogue illustrates the following continental-type helmets on offer:

The competitions’ helmets 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).

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

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

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

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 chapter ‘1860 Rouquayrol Denayrouze’ for more details).

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

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.

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 chapter: ‘1841 Bikkers Rotterdam’). From: Bikkers helmet, Jaap Stenger collection; photographs, David L.Dekker

Siebe, Gorman & Co 8 bolt helmet

Above: Swedish diving apparatus was invented by Axel Lindqvist during the 19th century, and was developed further by Emil Carlsson around 1910. Although the helmets have a bizarre, ‘pot-like’ look they were appreciated by Swedish divers who were still using them in the 1980s. ( in 2012 the website HDiBANK.COM image bank will be opened you can check it then for more Swedish diving apparatus). Photographs, David L.Dekker

Swedish style Emil Carlsson diving apparatus by Siebe, Gorman & Co Ltd.

Above: Various images of a tinned Hansen ‘Patent’ helmet without a company badge which has an ‘enforced’ top. This helmet was probably used by ‘stone fishers’ in Denmark. The second large photograph shows another Hansen ‘Patent’ helmet of the same style, but without the ‘enforced’ top and with a company badge. ( mid 2012 the website HDiBANK.COM image bank will be opened so you can check it then for danish diving apparatus ) Photographs, David L.Dekker

The danish ‘Hansen’s Patent’ helmet made by Siebe, Gorman & Co. Ltd.

The first time the Hansen Patent helmet is illustrated in a Siebe, Gorman & Co Ltd sales catalogue is in 1909 (Catalogue ‘D’), therefore the helmet is unlikely to have existed much before this date. The Hansen ‘Patent’ helmet was last illustrated in the Siebe, Gorman & Co. Ltd. sales catalogue, ‘D5’ of circa 1958. The helmet was manufactured by Siebe, Gorman in some quantity after a Danish rubber company decided to offer complete sets of diving apparatus instead of just the suits and hoses. Many of these helmets were supplied without a company name badge, but the helmet can be recognized by the typical Siebe, Gorman style ‘air-ducts’ inside the helmet. These ducts have typical ‘fish-tail’ shaped ends whereas original Danish style air-ducts have straight ends. Side-window grills are of the typical Siebe, Gorman style while original Danish helmets have side-window grills of the ‘Sadler’ design. (See HDiBank.com website for original Danish and Sadler helmets. They are not illustrated on this website because these companies did not supply diving apparatus to Holland).

Siebe, Gorman & Co Ltd. vs Dragerwerk, Lübeck

The helmets shown above was not introduced until sometime during the 1960s, and the design is based on the ‘Mine Recovery Suit’ (MRS) helmet of WW2. This ‘Utility helmet’ was promoted by Siebe, Gorman & Co Ltd. as an ‘economical but efficient helmet’. The black and white photograph is scanned from the Siebe, Gorman Marketing Data Sheet No. D1. The color photograph I received from a collector abroad who has 3 different styles of ‘Utility helmets’ in his collection. He kindly allowed me to show his photograph at the website, thanks.

From 1900 to 1945 the so called ‘injector war’ was taking place between the English Siebe, Gorman company and its competitor, the German ‘Draegerwerk’ company. The ‘injector’ was a crucial part for a rebreather system which was invented by Bernhard Draeger in 1895. In 1912 the invention was declared ‘unsafe’ by a British mining board with the result that British mines were no longer permitted to use the popular Draeger rebreathers. (See chapter ‘1912 Siebe, Gorman & Co Ltd. vs. Draegerwerk’).

Siebe, Gorman & Co Ltd. ‘Utility’ Diving Helmet.

From the mid-1950s onwards, diving equipment design was developing as new technological advances and innovation took place. This can be seen in the pioneering ‘CG45’ regulator and HP scuba tanks developed by Jacques Cousteau. Until then diving equipment had been expensive and was only affordable by the larger diving companies. However when Cousteau developed his regulators and dry-suits at much lower costs (using either scuba tanks or with surface demand), underwater work became more affordable and more widespread among a new generation of divers.

1969. Siebe, Gorman & Co. Ltd. ‘Seacrown’ helmet

Above: the ‘Seacrown’ prototype helmet was developed during the 1960s in an attempt to keep up with the latest technological advances in diving equipment. However, only one helmet was ever built. It was shown at various trade fairs and offered in the sales catalogues, but no orders were placed and other manufacturers such as Kirby Morgan and Aquadine eventually cornered the market.

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Chronology of Diving in Holland:

1605. Jan Adriaansz.Leeghwater

1832. Hugh Morton

1836. Deane

1839. Augustus Siebe

1839. Augustus Siebe (2)

1839. Augustus Siebe (3)

1841. Bikkers Rotterdam

1844. Heinke

1860. Rouquayrol Denayrouze

1860. Rouquayrol Denayrouze (2)

1860. Rouquayrol Denayrouze (3)

1890. Friedrich Flohr

1899. Drägerwerk

1912. Drägerwerk (2)

1942. Drägerwerk (3)

1945. La Spirotechnique

1945. La Spirotechnique (2)

1945. La Spirotechnique (3)

1945. Zock, Dordrecht

1955. E.P.L. de Hoog, Alkmaar

1983. Jan van Leest

1984. Pommec

1992. Henk Oostenveld

2002. Kees de Jonge

2004. Krul en Dekker

Alphabetical International Index:

The DiveScrap INDEX

2004. Krul en Dekker (2)

2004. Krul en Dekker (3)

2004. Krul en Dekker (4)

2012. Henk-Jan Vijn

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