Amazing 19th Century John Date Diving Helmet!
Every few years we have the honor of handling a true piece of Canadian diving history. We are proud to offer for sale a 19th Century helmet made by John Date in Montreal Canada. John Date was the only diving helmet manufacturer in Canada. Starting in the 1850's John Date would go on to make some of the finest helmets ever made in North America. Today just about any example is prized, but one in this condition of this vintage is truly a treasure!
While not a lot is known about John Date helmets, they can be dated with a degree of accuracy and also put into styles according to when they were made. Of course the initial helmets from probably the 1870's are style ones. This helmet fits the criteria for a style 2 or possibly style 3. Regardless, the helmet is a classic example from the late 19th Century.
A detail that is important to helmets from this time is the bonnet. It was hand formed with the braising castellations being quite visible. The "castling" is quite impressive on this helmet and a key feature! Also key is the overall completeness and condition. All the unique wing nuts, brails, 4 copper washers, guards, hardware, glass, etc are present. In addition, a very rare John Date non-return valve is attached!
The bonnet and breastplate attach together quite easily. The neck rings are non-recessed. John Date helmets at this time period did not put their name on the breastplate. In addition to the completeness, the helmet is in amazing condition. Only the most minimal of wear is evident. It is a safe assumption that the helmet was used in fresh water based on the condition of the copper body. Inside all of the vents are present and the tinning, as to be expected. This is a rare opportunity to own such a early and immaculate John Date. It's also a possibility in the future that these could become "cultural assets" of the Canadian government. This would mean that taking them out of that country would be impossible!