Twin eyeglass deep sea diving helmet by Charles Edwin Heinke, England, 1844-1850
Heinke, a London-based company, originally established by coppersmith Gottlif Frederick Heinke, grew under Charles Edwin Heinke to become one of the most important developers and manufacturers of diving equipment in the 19th century, rivalling fellow Londoners Siebe Gorman in importance. This twin eyeglass helmet is attributed to Charles Edwin Heinke, England, c. 1844-50. It was to be used with an attached air supply enabling the diver to spend time underwater. Whilst attributed to and owned by Heinke, the design of the helmet suggests an early 19th century-style diving helmet, with Heinke trade literature showing a similar helmet dating to 1807. Heinke manufactured diving helmets from 1844 onwards. It is possible that Heinke, in his early experiments with diving helmet manufacture, produced an older style model. Nevertheless, this is a prime and rare example of a very early diving helmet. The clear eyeglass – by contrast to the grids common on most 19th-century diving helmets – offered a less restricted view of a diver’s surroundings.