A. Schrader's Son US Navy Mark V - 1918
The US Navy Mark V was first made in 1916 by A. Schrader's Son Company and also the A.J. Morse Company. Only a handful of examples exist from 1916 and 1917. By 1918 orders by the US Government for victory in World War 1 and later reconstruction started to pickup. Today in the 21st Century and 101 years afterwards, examples of 1918 Mark V's are rare and desirable!
This Mark V features a Schrader ID plate with the manufactured date of September 3rd, 1918. Even more impressive, the serial number is 400 - the 400th Mark V made by Schrader! As with many helmets of this vintage, they were used a lot in both the Navy and later commercially. Undoubtedly after the Navy was finished with this helmet it was purchased as surplus and used by a commercial diver, possibly many decades after it was first made.
At some point in its life the bonnet (top half) was replaced by a bonnet made by the A.J. Morse Company. We know this by the serial # located on the bonnet neck ring. The Morse serial # dates the bonnet to the 1918 time period. Is it possible the Morse bonnet and Schrader breastplate were put together way back in 1918? The next mystery involves the helmets four brails, which were made by Morse. Three of the four brails feature serial #'s dating to the 1918 and 1919 time periods. One brail does not feature a number.
Another key feature of it being an early Mark V is the exhaust valve wheel. Early 1918 and older models had an eight point exhaust, which would later be replaced by a four point exhaust wheel. These early wheels are rare to find and this helmet features one of those on it!
The back of the bonnet retains the original air fitting with an air hose line and part of communication line still attached. The air line hose has a date of August 1945 on it. The communications fitting on the bonnet has been removed and capped off. A commercial style communications fitting has been installed on the back of the bonnet. Also on the back of the bonnet is a nice vintage replacement dumbbell safety latch. The bonnet does feature numerous working dents typically found on helmets of this age. The inside of the bonnet does retain the original air vents and a vintage speaker still inside!
If you have always longed for a World War 1 Mark V but didn't want to spend five figures on one - here is a wonderful opportunity. The helmet could be kept just as it is easily or it could be a worthy restoration project. Either way, this helmet without a doubt has seen lots of action during its time underwater and is a great piece of history!