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Cast Iron Shallow Water Diving Helmet – Snead & Co

Anthony Pardoe’s Description:

Pg 6, Vol 1 – Diving Helmets and Equipment Through the Ages

Nothing is really known about Snead as a company, or if one ever existed.

However, EJ Willis Co . of New York , who specialised in Marine Equipment , put out a catalogue in 1937 in which they showed a a picture of a helmet exactly like the Snead, but they called it the Willis Diving Helmet.

The first design of this helmet was cast in two pieces; the front and back sections being joined together with a number of bolts and nuts around the rim. It weighed 56lbs. However it was susceptible to leaking.

Therefore it was superseded by this second style, shown with the rims joined together , cast in one piece. It has the same large viewing aperture. The air is fed in at the top front just above the bulging ‘ frog eye ‘ window. It also weighs 56lbs.

A simple design with nothing to go wrong except perhaps a broken window.

This shallow water helmet is generally worn without a suit in warm waters. The perspex window is kept clear by the air which is constantly played on to it from the inlet above; but this proved disconcerting to some divers. The handle on the top is square section thus making it rather uncomfortable to carry.

Lettering on the front reads ‘ Snead Co Jersey City NJ Patt Pending ‘

This pattern was most probably prior 1935.

Trinity’s Notes :

Always good to have a Snead , we have a couple now but this is by far the better one, even with the cracked Frog Eye plexiglass face.

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