We have been diving a 1944 helmet in Key Largo for 16 years.
We have logged more than 1600 dive experiences for certified SCUBA divers.
History of the MARK V
At the turn of the last century the U S NAVY was using any and all diving equipment avalible. They had no set procedures or policies,and diving techniques were not standerdized.In 1912 U S Navy Gunner G.D. Stillson wrote a report critical of the Navy's techniques and equipment. In typical military fashion, two years later Stillson was assigned the job of evaluating the Navy's diving program. In 1915 his report not only addressed policies and techniques but included drawings for a helmet that would become the Mark V.
In 1916 a series of prototype helmets were manufactured by Mores, and Schrader. They were called Mark I, Mark II, MarkIII, and Mark IV. After the evaluations, the best features of each were combined into the Mark V. The first Mark V's were produced in 1917.
The Mark V is different than most diving rigs of the time, by the addition of a weight belt. Most helmets used weight on the breastplate to be neutrally boyant. Using the weight belt also moved the divers center of gravity lower, making the rig more stable on the bottom.
From 1917,untill the Navy decommissioned the Mark V in 1979, approximetly 7,000 to 10,000 were manufactured by four companys.After the war the military recycled" distroyed" many helmets so no one knowes how many have survived.Our helmet has been authenticated by its maker, Morse,as having been produced in April 1944 and sold to the Navy .It was the 171st of 530 produced that year by them, for the Navy.