Rare A. Schrader's Son US Navy Mark III Helmet!
Rarely do we turn up a helmet with as much mystery as this one presented us upon its arrival in our shop! At first glance this helmet appears to be a classic late 1920's or early 1930's A. Schrader's Son 4 light 12 bolt helmet - but there is a lot more to this one! This helmet was actually made by the A.J. Morse & Son Co around the 1905-08 time period. It was also a 5 bolt model helmet! Bolt helmets were a style that utilized four or five large bolts to secure the bonnet and breastplate together. In addition, this 5 bolt Morse configuration fits the definition of a US Navy Mark I helmet as described in the 1916 US Navy Dive Manual. So why would this helmet be modified?
It's quite possible the US Navy had the helmet updated to the Mark III configuration due to bolt helmets being an obsolete style by the 1920's. Bolt helmets simply could not create enough force on the neck ring gasket to provide enough seal against water leaks. A threaded helmet would tightened down and a good gasket would generally always provide a water tight seal. While the Mark III is defined as a Morse, for unknown reasons Schrader performed the conversion on this helmet and removed the Morse plate and applied their own.
As can be seen in the photos, the helmets wonderful patina and condition are amazing! All 4 brails are original Morse matching to the helmet. Each brail also has a matching serial # dating it to the 1905-08 time range. The Schrader ID plate has a serial # dating the conversion to the late 1920's or early 1930's. All hardware is present including non-return valve. There are two wing nuts that have 1 ear broken off and the front glass is broken, but still solid. Overall, really a fantastic helmet with a great appearance and history! This would be a very rare opportunity to aquire a Mark III with the goal of finding an example of each Mark helmet 1 through 5.