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The price includes a 4% credit card fee. If you pay by check, money order, or bank wire, the discounted price is $7,875 or with optional equipment $8575 delivered within the contiguous United States. 


The G.D. Stillson Prototype US Navy Mark V Helmet – Lucky #7.

Please note that this helmet comes with a custom wood display stand. Optionally, the period correct air control valve and white whip are available as shown in photos.


What helmet did US Navy divers use before the Mark V? During the 19th century the USN utilized a variety of helmets from the UK and US with no established standards in place. In 1912, Warrant Gunner George Stillson, a seasoned US Navy diver, spearheaded a vital movement to modernize diving standards. Recognizing the limitations of the time, Stillson petitioned the Bureau of Construction and Repair in 1912.


His proposal? A series of groundbreaking experiments to assess experimental diving techniques and equipment. These advancements aimed to revolutionize diving capabilities and prioritize diver safety.

Spearheading the initiative, Stillson conducted trials in 1913 and 1914. Utilizing diving tanks and the destroyer USS Walke (DD 34) off Long Island Sound, he and a team of divers embarked on a series of dives. Pushing the boundaries, they culminated in a record-breaking dive of 274 feet on air in November 1914.


Stillson's meticulous documentation of these endeavors was compiled in the 1915 "Report on Deep Diving Tests.” This report served as a powerful call to action, advocating for the standardization and improvement of diver training, procedures, and equipment.


One of the byproducts of the report was the iconic US Navy Mark V diving helmet. As with any design, it did not start off the way it eventually ended up in 1916. A design featured in the 1915 report can be considered the precursor or first generation of the Mark V.

The experts at DESCO analyzed that design and brought it to reality in 2015 in honor of the 100th anniversary of that 1915 report. DESCO would only produce ten examples of this helmet. Each helmet was numbered with a unique brass ID plate. These special helmets were made to honor the historical significance of the report and Stillson, but they are also functional, high-quality helmets, like everything they make.


This special Stillson helmet is the first one we have had the honor of handling. Serial #7, its original owner, gave it the nickname Lucky #7. That nickname was also reinforced with a shamrock painted on the breastplate and top of the bonnet. This was done in the tradition of US Navy divers putting paint on their helmets to differentiate themselves easily by color—in this case, “green diver.”


This helmet remains in like new condition. Over the past nine years, it has acquired a slight patina to the copper body. This could be left to develop like a fine wine or easily be polished by hand back to a brilliant shine. If so desired, the shamrocks could also be easily removed. The helmet comes with the custom wood display stand as shown in the photos. Also originally installed is a DESCO non-return valve, communications fitting, communications wire, screw-down safety bolt, period correct exhaust, spitcock, two neck-ring clamps, four brails, and twelve wing nuts.


Also available optionally are two period correct pieces of equipment shown in some of the photos. The first is a “Y” style air control valve, shown in the photos bolted to the front of the helmet. Second, a “whip” or air hose in the early white rubber style. The whip attaches to the non-return valve on the air fitting of the helmet. The air control valve attaches to the whip and then bolts to the breastplate. The two components make the helmet even more complete and add a great visual helmet to its display.

Also available separately is a dive dress with the 12 bolt pattern that matches this helmet. This dress is likely the most difficult component to obtain if you want to make a full “Jake” display.


All helmets sold by Nations Attic Inc. will have a certificate of authenticity (COA). This COA will have a serial # on it that will match the # on a tamperproof holographic decal placed on the inside of the helmet. This level of security and long-term assurance of the helmet’s authenticity is unmatched in the industry and very important to us.


The helmet will be shipped in two double thick specially prepared boxes via FedEx. Worldwide shipping is available. A shipping quote prior to the auction can be provided by emailing your postal code.


The price includes a 4% credit card fee. If you pay by check, money order, or bank wire, the discounted price is $7,875 or with optional equipment $8575 delivered within the contiguous United States. 

Stillson Mark V Prototype 100th Anv. Helmet

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