Nation's Attic Diving Into History 2023

A.J. Morse & Son Neck Feed 3 Light 12 Bolt Diving Helmet

The auction will start in __ days and __ hours

Start price: $2,000

Estimated price: $4,500 - $6,500

Buyer's premium: 20%

Sales Tax: On the lot's price and buyer's premium

A.J. Morse & Son Neck Feed 3 Light 12 Bolt Diving Helmet

This helmet was made by arguably the most famous American helmet maker, the A.J. Morse & Son Company, located in Boston, Massachusetts. The helmet features a serial number on the bonnet neck ring of 3310, dating it to the 1930s. The breastplate has four Morse brails, all four of which have a serial number of 1797, which dates them to the 1910s. Unfortunately, the breastplate does not have a serial number and the ID plate was removed long ago.

This helmet is in a very unique configuration. Unlike most helmets with the air elbow on the back of the bonnet, this one has it on the back of the breastplate. Unlike most neck feed Morse helmets, the air fitting is not positioned on the neck ring, but just below it. This was likely done as a modification well after the helmet was made at the request of the diver. There is an air channel within the breastplate neck ring with the air coming into the helmet below the divers chin. The work was likely done by AJ Morse.

Starting in the late 1910s A.J. Morse started using round windows on the side of their commercial helmets. This example is what Morse would call their Improved Safety Diving Helmet. This helmet has 3 lights (windows) with a communications cup installed on the front of the bonnet. Also on the front of the bonnet is the communications cable fitting and clamp. A safety latch is found on the back of the neck ring, preventing the bonnet from coming off while underwater.

The helmet has a very dark patina on the copper surface. The helmet has all its glass, 12 wing nuts, four brails, four copper brail shims, exhaust valve, air fitting, communications cup, window guards, neck ring gasket, and safety latch. The helmet exhibits typical working dents on the top of the bonnet. One of the wing nuts does not want to thread on the studs very well. There is the telltale sign of where the oval Morse ID plate was originally on the lower front of the breastplate. The bonnet and breastplate do thread together with ease. This is a very unique diving helmet and a very scarce configuration.

All diving helmets in this auction will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Nations Attic. The certificate will have a unique number that will match the number on a tamperproof hologram decal placed inside the helmet. This information will be kept on permanent file at Nations Attic and help ensure the provenance of the helmet and authenticity. The display stand shown in the photos is not included. The option to purchase one after the auction will be>
All items will be shipped with a signature required upon delivery and full insurance either via FedEx or the USPS Priority Mail. Worldwide shipping is available; however, no ocean freight will be offered on large items. DHL Express is an option for international shipments under 600 pounds via air. Payment via bank wire for customers outside the USA is required. A shipping quote prior to the auction can be provided by emailing your postal code.