For Dad’s upcoming 70th birthday, wanted to track down an old mixed-gas diver’s hard hat, hopefully similar to ones that would have been used by the U.S. Coast Guard in the late 1950s. Figured, naively, that I could do it for a few hundred bucks. eBay turns up close to nothing, though I did find a replica there for a lot more than that. Started emailing with collectors (all in other countries, for some reason). Turns out these things are a lot rarer than I thought. Typical of the responses I got:
The price of a helium hat is around $8500, and a friend of mine in England, just had one delivered to him from Desco. If you were to find a used one, you are looking at maybe 12 to 14 thousand dollars.
That guy offered up this 1918 Schrader Mark V for a paltry $9k. Unless someone shows up quick with an antique diving helmet fab, time for Plan B. Wonder whether Dad might prefer a new grill instead…
6 Replies to “Helium Hat”
My guess is that with the advent of modern polymer helmets, a lot of these things got melted down for scrap brass, since there was so much of it in them. Perhaps something like this: http://seagifts.com/seagifts/smalrepdivhe.html would be better.
I don’t think he would be into a replica, but thanks.
What a fun esoteric little treasure hunt! I seriously owe about 40% of the success of my recent sculptural work to Ebay. I’m forever indebted to the fact that it exists. For the past 6 months, I’ve managed to source 5 antique laboratory bell jars (one with the vacuum apparatus still attached — and all conforming to my very narrow criteria that the diameter be larger than 7 inches but the height can’t be taller than 16 inches) and about a dozen sea urchin skeletons that have had to be either as white as possible or as red as possible (and as “domed” as possible) with holes in the bottom wider than an inch that I can thread electrical wire through. My brain hurts just thinking about what I’d have to go through to source these things in “real life.” And, of course, the truth is that I just couldn’t.
There’s one on display in a window of a shop on Boston’s waterfront… I think they sell nautical antiques.
I’ll try and track down the name of it. One of those places I’ve passed a hundred times so now I can’t remember a single detail about it!
Much obliged Matthias, but honestly, I’ve pretty much given up on this idea. Can’t imagine I’m going to find an affordable deal on one of these anywhere. But just out of curiosity, please do ask!
Amy – What in the *world* are you doing with these poor sea urchin skeletons? As your lighted gift to Amy has imparted a whole new depth to our hallway view into the bedroom, you’ve got me very, very curious. I’m thinking now of the sea urchin night lights they sell at the Shell Shop in Morro Bay, but something tells me you’re doing something else with them.