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Diving Equipment & Supply Co Nuclear Model Diving Helmet!

This diving helmet is one of the most unique and rarely encountered models Nation's Attic has had the pleasure of handling. The helmet was made by the Diving Equipment and Supply Company (DESCO) in Milwaukee, WI in April of 1973. As the model name implies, this helmet was designed to be used in highly contaminated environments, specifically in and around nuclear reactors. A helmet like this would have been specially ordered and configured to the divers requirements, making an example like this likely unique.

The helmet itself is in excellent condition. As can be seen in the photos above, the original factory tinning on the copper body is almost like new. In the last 47+ years, a subtle patina has developed on the tinning, giving the helmet a rich dark grey look. There is evidence of use on the breastplate from the leather weight belt rubbing on the surface. The brass DESCO ID plate also shows signs of slight use. Undoubtedly this highly specialized and expensive piece of equipment was maintained and taken care of to the highest degree.

The helmet is complete with all four brails, 12 wing nuts, internal air vents, communications, fittings, etc all intact. The brass window frames are a style without the guards, allowing the diver a greater field of vision. Unlike traditional helmets, the air vents on this model are tubular, extending out from a central diffuser at the top inside of the bonnet. Also of note is the use of two exhaust valves on the bonnet, a very unique configuration undoubtedly needed for work in environments where the diver would be working in a horizontal position.  The helmet was also constructed with acrylic windows to eliminate the threat of cracked or broken glass and contamination to the diver. Considering this helmet was a custom order, DESCO applied the date of manufacturer on the ID plate but did not put a serial number or model number on it.


Unique helmets like this one, especially in this condition, will always be prized pieces in any collection and continue to appreciate in value. Don't let this piece of history slip away! Update - we have tested this helmet with a modern Geiger counter and it is NOT emitting any radiation. The last image above shows the reading, which is equivalent to background radiation in any house.