1943 Schrader Mark V Diving Helmet

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Brief History of Schrader Diving

Schrader is one of the oldest names in U.S. diving, second only to Morse. The founder, August Schrader was a creative and inventive German immigrant who originally set up a shop dealing in rubber products in New York City, NY in 1839, only a few years after A.J. Morse set up shop in Boston.

In 1845 he began supplying fittings and valves for rubber products made by the Goodyear Brothers. Schrader was also a maker of daguerreotype apparatus. His original shop was at 115 John Street in Manhattan, NY. Shortly thereafter he went into partnership with Christian Baecher. Christian was a brass turner and finisher which provided a foundation for what followed.

The two partners, having watched divers at work at a nearby New York Harbor jetty, decided to improve the diving helmets in use at the time. In 1849, with the help of Baecher, he created a new copper helmet. Later his interest in diving led to him to design an air pump.

Around 1890, August Schrader saw the need for a bicycle tire valve. By 1891, he produced the Schrader valve. The Schrader valve was his most popular invention, and is still used today.

In 1917, the United States Bureau of Construction & Repair introduced the MK V helmet and dress, which then became the standard for US Navy diving until the introduction of the MK 12 in the late nineteen seventies. Schrader and Morse Diving were the two original suppliers.

During the onslaught of World War Two only Morse and Schrader were making dive helmets for the navy. Desco and Miller-Dunn went into production around 1943. In total only about 7,000 MK V helmets were produced by all four companies during the war years with DESCO producing the most, then Morse, Schrader and Miller-Dunn. The scarcity of the latter two are the reason they command a higher price in the market.