Nation's Attic Diving Into History 2023

1900s A.J. Morse & Son 3 Light 12 Bolt Diving Helmet

The auction will start in __ days and __ hours

Start price: $2,000

Estimated price: $4,000 - $6,000

Buyer's premium: 20%

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

This helmet was made by one of the most famed and iconic manufacturers of the 19th and 20th Centuries, the A.J. Morse & Son company located in Boston, MA. This company would start making diving helmets and related equipment in the mid-19th Century. Their helmets are quintessential pieces of American industrial design and iconic diving history.

Advertised as
The Most Popular Helmet In Use in the 1904 AJ Morse catalog, this is a classic 3 light (windows or ports) 12 bolt helmet. This helmet was made at the Boston factory before 1904. This is known by its serial number and ID plate. The helmet serial number is 1174, which is present on both neck rings and all four brails! Morse would add Inc. to their name after 1904. This helmets ID plate does not have Inc. on it.

A.J. Morse, during this time utilized iconic vertical side ports or windows. The circular faceplate threaded into the helmet bonnet, completed the classic configuration of an AJ Morse helmet. This helmet retains its twelve wing nuts, four serial numbered brails, window guards, glass, exhaust valve, air elbow fitting, safety latch, internal air vents, and neck ring gasket. The faceplate is missing one knob. The divers right side port glass is cracked but still solid. There is a AJ Morse & Son stamped non return valve on the helmet, which is the same vintage as the helmet.

Many decades ago, this helmet was professionally polished. Since that time, the copper body and brass hardware have developed a beautiful, consistent patina. The helmet does have numerous working dents, all evidence of its use over 100 years ago. The copper around the air elbow fitting is pushed in slightly. The polishing of the helmet has exposed an interesting detail in regard to the helmet construction. The breastplate was assembled from two pieces. The two parts were castellated together. That castellation seam is visible at the shoulders of the breastplate, adding a nice touch of detail to this already impressive helmet.

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 provided.

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.