Old Gear

Historical Diving Society of Finland owns a 16th century diving bell replica called Mårten, an “aquarium” (a telephone booth with a glass window for dive presentations) and a cage/platform for lowering a (commercial) diver into water. In addition we own three hand driven air pumps (compressors): two made in Russian and one, by Siebe-Gorman, of English origin.

The Siebe pump is a donation from the construction company YIT. In addition we received a helmet, weights, heavy boots, and air distribution panel. The diving dresses had unfortunately however completely fallen apart.

Commercial diving equipment donated by YIT

The most recent donation was received in spring 2019. He is called ”The Honorary Master Öhman” (“Sukellusneuvos Öhman”; some authorities say these terms never should be translated). Öhman has a story of his own and he could very well become a mannequin for our association.

Sukellusneuvos Öhman

During the years we have gathered not only commercial diving equipment but recreational diving gear too.  

The russian air pump has already been renovated and made fully operable by Harri Jylhä. The second russian pump waits to be reassembled now having been thoroughly cleaned. The newest addition to out collection, the Siebe-Gorman pump, might only need a proper cleaning.

Our first pump on the day of purchase
The pump had to be completely disassembled for maintenance

Our association owns all that is needed for a successfull dive: a pump, a helmet, a standard diving dress, an air hose, boots and weights – a complete set that is.

After the Deanne brothers developed their open diving helmet in England for fire fighters, over three hundred different designs of a diving helmet has been manufactured. The operating principle remains unchanged in all of them but structural differences tell them apart.

There are countless collectors of diving helmets around the world. This has created a market for counterfeit helmets. In addition it has to be noted that new “classical helmets” are still manufactured for commercial divers at least in China, Russia and India. While these are meant for actual diving, they are not “truly historical”. A collector thus has to pay attention to both actual diveability and actual age of the gear.

For a person interested in historical diving helmets we do recommend the splendid compilation Helmets of the Deep by Leon G. Lyons. A second, expanded edition is about to be published.

Classical diving helmets have been manufactured even in Finland. These are labeled “Siebe-Gorman made in Finland”, or as we call them “Raumalainen” or “Rauma helmets” (named after a city). They resemble original Siebe helmets with notable differences. The windows however, and valves and hose connections and other throughputs are just like spare parts of Siebe.

Diving Historical Society of Finland is doing an inventory on Finnish made helmets and their manufacturers to answer the questions placed by foreign collectors and aficionados alike.

A ”Siebe-Gorman” made in Finland lacks the oval Siebe logo down in the front. Authentic Siebe helmets are clearly marked with serial numbers both on chest plate and on the helmet. Serial numbers of helmets made in Finland are located underneath the locking mechanism in the rear. These range from one to twenty-four.