Above, An advertisement for T. A. Scott , Submarine Engineer and Diver, from The New England Almanac and Farmer’s Friend, for the year of our Lord Christ 1880, being Blissextile or Leap Year and the one hundred and fourth of American Independence, calculated for the meridian of New London, Latitude 41 21′ N., Lon. 72 12′ W. – by – David A. Daboll, A. M., Centre Groton, Conn.
On Friday we received an intriguing email:
My name is Bill Pelky and I work for DESCO Corporation in Milwaukee Wisconsin. A few years ago DESCO acquired the assets of Morse Diving in Boston. We reintroduced some of their old diving helmet models to complement our own line. Part of the acquisition was maintaining the legacy of the Morse company as one of the pioneer US diving equipment makers. Recently we purchased a diving helmet from a woman in Virginia. Her brother in law was the son in law of Thomas Scott, son of Thomas Alberson Scott. The helmet was passed from Tom Scott to her brother in law, then to her husband. it seems this helmet may have been a family heirloom to some degree. It has us wondering if this helmet originally was used by the senior Scott in his diving business. To investigate that possibility we are looking for any photos which may show Scott with or wearing diving equipment. My question is does your organization have photos of Race Rock Light under construction? If so do any show divers working? T A Scott had built a reputation as an expert diver and it would not have been uncommon to use divers in this type of construction project.—–This helmet may be of great importance to the history of diving development. We think it might be the earliest example of a Morse Commercial Helmet in existence. Proving it is the hurdle we are trying to cross. Our company has a museum of sorts in our offices and this helmet is now a permanent part of our collection. Any information at all would be most appreciated. We understand Covid 19 has impacted every sector and has hit non-profits such as museums especially hard. We would not ask that you put yourself or your staff out for this request. We would be grateful for what you can, when you can.
The Custom House Maritime Museum has long collected material relating to Capt. Scott , a true local legend. And we especially have been looking for Scott materials since 2015, the year we took ownership of Race Rock Lighthouse — an engineering marvel which T. A. Scott built. We will be sending our images to Bill at DESCO, including the 1880 advertising illustration, above. We thought we’d let you all know about the request, in case there is other material to share.
The new helmet, above, is DESCO’s version of the Scott helmet. However, the helmet, below, is the real deal. Bill writes that the new hat is: a helmet we made not long after we bought out Morse. It is the same base model as the Scott Helmet. This helmet would have been produced from the 1880’s to mid-1930’s.
We believe the Scott helmet may be one of Morse’s earliest production helmets. The neck ring is smaller, and has five interruptions instead of four. The side guards have only one vertical bar instead of two. We can see a ghost of the original exhaust valve. The one on there now would have been considered an upgrade since the original was not adjustable. The size of the breastplate is smaller than later helmets. We think the breastplate was changed to increase the size of the collar on the dress. A diver has to squeeze through the collar to put the dress on.
Exciting news. We’ll keep you posted.
Several of the vintage dive helmets on display at the Custom House Maritime Museum; these are on loan from Jay Kane and Ed Uditis.
— Have a Happy Labor Day Weekend —
Cultural Awareness International writes that Labor Day: honors those individuals who came before us and fought for safe working conditions, employees’ rights, 40-hour work week, 8-hour work day, 5-day work week, and an end to child labor. It is a testament to the social and economic success of the American worker. For many in the US, those issues seem to belong to another world and another era. [However] If we pause and reflect, we can see that these feats were not easy to attain and that many sacrificed their lives for the betterment of us all. Some may even counter that we have regressed, as Americans work notoriously long hours vis-à-vis their European counterparts, are less inclined to use vacation time and are connected around the clock due to technological advances. Let us briefly consider the history of this day.
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