About Us

Historical Diving Society of Finland (Suomen Sukellushistoriallinen yhdistys) is a small organisation for people interested in the history of diving and in historical diving equipment. We collect both commercial, military, public safety and recreational diving gear for our exhibition. Joining us allows you to meet other people interested in the history of diving and you have a chance to take part in restoring gear and diving with historical diving equipment.

Historical Diving Society of Finland, Suomen Sukellushistoriallinen yhdistys,
is affiliated with of The Historical Diving Society based in England.

As said, we own a collection of equipment and we do historical diving using a diving bell (model Mårten Triewald) and using Siebe-Gormanstandard diving dress (and various national equivalents) and using some historical but more unorthodox or experimental or rare diving helmets.

Our society was founded in 2010. Hence it is still young and small and its focus, history of diving, is not tremendously wide either.

Diving in Finland

Commercial diving predates all other forms of equipped diving in Finland. It started in 1862 (first mention in finnish newspapers: 15.08.1862 Hämäläinen no 33; an older story from 1857 (continued here) describes equipment but is fictional and is set abroad). Both military and public safety (rescue) diving on the other hand started as late as in the end of the 1940’s or in the beginning of the 1950’s. The dawn of recreational diving dates back to this same period. The history of diving is thus relatively short and easy to comprehend. It is also fairly easy to find written documentation of all diving.

Preserve old equipment!!!!

It would not be difficult to gather historical equipment from different periods of time and different types of diving had it not – especially hard hat equipment – been sold abroad. Other types of equipment remain in the country but the owners are reluctant to part with their gear. Donations are few and far between!

Eventhough our field of interest comprises all forms of historical diving in Finland, the focus has remained in preserving the tradition of commercial diving and especially in presenting this form of diving. Diving presentations are popular with the public and this brings publicity to our cause.

The annual Diver’s day (Sukelluksen päivä)

We have organised a Diver’s day event annually in may since 2010 and this year 2019 marks the tenth anniversary. The focus of the event lies firmly on the history of (commercial) diving and on diving demonstrations. Modern recreationan diving is not excluded however. The dive demonstrations take place in an “aquarium” (a water-filled telephone booth with a glass window covering one side entirely) with one exception: The diving bell is lowered into the river. Anecdotally, (commercial) Diver’s day has been celebrated in Russia in may to commemorate worlds first diving school (founded on 5.5.1882 in Kronstadt next to St Petersburg, Russia). Finland was a grand duchy of Russia at that time. Unrelated, but what a coincidence!

Our Diver’s day event has been organised in co-operation and on the premises of the Merikeskus Forum Marinum museum.

We have organised our event on the premises of Forum Marinum concurrently with other events, such as the opening of the river marina and the opening of the museum ships. There has always been enough of interested public at Diver’s day.

The exhibition, or museum

We have a small exhibition space in Oriketo in Turku on the premises of the commercial diving company DG Diving Group. Here we can store and showcase our collection. Our exhibition is not that extensive but museums like ours are not abundant and we do have some interesting items.

Trips abroad – and more to come!!!!

We are mostly active in our homeland but visits have been paid to nordic events related to diving history. We have shown our hard hat diving gear and our diving bell replica, “Mårten” during these events. The bell has been diving in Bergen, in Copenhagen, in Oslo and in several parts of Sweden save Stockholm. To Helsinki it has not been either.

Unexpectedly, a society is born

The thought of bringing the diving bell of Svenska Dykerihistoriska Sällskapet from Dyktankhus to Turku to be used as a center piece of a Diver’s day event led us to found an association. Us beeing a formalised association made co-operation between us and Forum Marinum possible and natural.

Diving bell Mårten

Our diving bell, Mårten, was manufactured and assembled in time for the Diver’s day of 2012. For the first time, international guests were invited and they brought with them their historical diving gear for display.

The responsibility of organising an annual European Historical Diving Event, such as this, is shared between the Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish societies. The event has been organised in Finland in 2012 and in 2016 and the next one will be in 2020.

Siebe-Gorman, Kirby Morgan, and Divex AH5 helmets and a diving bell.
Modern Divex AH5 Freeflow Air Helmet on the front. Diving bell Mårten on the rear.

Diving presentations have been given using our diving bell Mårten, historical commercial diving gear, open helmets, modern commercial diving gear, open circuit S.C.U.B.A. and rebreather.

Guest’s gear

Raahen Nuori Herra, a replica of worlds oldest existing diving suit has been seen twice at the event.

Our international guests have brought their own equipment for display.

HDS Sweden paid a visit in 2010 to our first Diver’s Day event ever. Lars Gustafsson is about to dive with their diving bell. He is wearing a diving suit made of moose skin. This very bell was used in 1961 to study how original salvage of the ship Vasa was done centuries earlier. This testing was done in conjunction with the recovery of the Vasa wreck from Strömmen in Stockholm.
In 2012 our guests from germany brought with them a hard hat divers’ rebreather.

Our parent organisation HDS England awarded us with the Torphy Award in 2014 for our work to make history of diving better known amongst the general public.

Receiving the Trophy Award at Forum Marinum. The museum director Jaakko Tikka (to the right) together with Jouko Moisala

“Aquarium dives”

We used to lower divers into the river Aura during diving demonstrations, but all that people could see was muddy water and bubbles. We then decided that the public should see the submerged diver. An old waterproofed telephone booth came in handy in this respect. Only the bell is lowered into the water now.

A hard hat diver is giving a demonstration

Historical diving demonstration on 22.8.2015: Siebe-Gorman Standard Diving Dress

This video shows how a diver enters a Siebe-Gorman standard diving dress. Uusikaupunki. 22.8.2015. ( linkki: https://youtu.be/3oZnauShfsA )

Demonstration 3.6.2013: The diving bell
A quick dive in the river Aura without leaving the bell. (linkki: https://youtu.be/LKAwFLZw7fk )