Siebe Gorman Bellow Air Pump - Circa 1900's
A very Special, Rare and Highly Unusual Article - A Genuine Antique SIEBE GORMAN Manual Bellow Air Pump System. Circa early 1900's.
Just try and locate another such exact piece... This is absolutely one for serious collector's of either Maritime or Firefighting historical memorabilia. Professionally restored, this is an extremely beautiful display piece, and as well a very unique sample of historic ingenuity. It is a foot operated air supply pump for either a deep sea diving helmet or Firefighters smoke helmet. Such a piece is said to have been the original air pump used to pump fresh air into the safety helmet using the bellow system operation. Coming out of the bellow system was a hose that went to the rescuer. Using a system of tugs and pulls they would communicate how much air to pump to them. 1 tug meant more air, 2 tugs less air, and 3 tugs help me out.
Into the 1900's more advanced and efficient methods, which included oxygen tanks etc., forced such antiquated machines out of the market. With this, it is important to note that the Siebel Gorman Company added a large horn to the bellow pump and sold them as a Fire Siren. This particular one does not have the horn.
About Siebe Gorman & Co...research shares with us the following:
Siebe Gorman & Co Ltd was a British company which developed diving equipment and breathing equipment and worked on commercial diving and marine salvage projects. The company advertised itself as ‘Submarine Engineers’. It was founded by Augustus Siebe and his son-in-law, Gorman. Siebe Gorman & Co was notable for developing the “closed” diving helmet of the standard diving dress and associated equipment. As the helmet was sealed to the diving suit, it was watertight, unlike the previous “open” helmet systems. The new equipment was safer and more efficient and revolutionized underwater work from the 1830s. To the millions of diving enthusiasts , Augustus Siebe is known as the Godfather of Diving. Siebe managed his business together with son in law Gorman - Which is one of the reason for the Company to be called as Siebe Gorman & Co. Also for that reason later nametags carried the name Siebe Gorman and Company on the breastplate of all helmets. The company is no longer in business. It was destroyed by a devastating fire.
History also notes:
Not much happened to the invention for several years. Then in 1827, the Seibe Co. manufactured the first smoke helmets.
The helmet had three visors to allow the wearer to see around him (figure 1). The front had a small vent with a handle for the wearer to open and close it. When it was opened, he would be able to speak freely with his attendants and to breathe the outside air. Once shut, the bellows would have to be worked to allow the wearer to breathe fresh air. The fresh air was delivered by a pipe or umbilical to an intake elbow at the back of the helmet. The air then was tracked inside the helmet and over the three visors to prevent their misting. The air was allowed to escape through an exhaust pipe, also at the back of the helmet, which was attached a small flexible pipe.
Condition Report: This item is in extremely good condition, professionally restored for museum presentation. There are some areas which reflect it's age...very small couple of indentations in the antique wood, and a couple tiny holes. Nothing, in my opinion, that takes away from the show. On the red metal supports you will find again some normal wear consistent with it's years in service. Areas where the paint has worn off, scratches and some hints of rust on the shiny metal folding arms. The leather is wonderful! It is all intact and displays a wonderful genuine patina.
Beautiful oval brass plated makers mark insignia is found on the front top portion of the preserved coated wood:
" EVERYTHING FOR SAFETY EVERYWHERE"
"SIEBE GORMAN & Co Ltd LONDON S.E.I."
"MANUFACTURERS OF MINE AND INDUSTRIAL SAFETY APPLIANCE"
Large shiny square brass plate holds the following:
"CODE OF SIGNALLING BY MEANS OF LIFE LINE"
"1 TUG - MORE AIR"
"2 TUGS - LESS AIR"
"3 TUGS - HELP ME OUT"
Located on one side of the bellows is a small brass round "button" which displays the serial number. "SERIAL No. DB9 4575".
Also, stamped into the wood at the front lower left hand corner is what appears to read "121998"
With red metal foot pedal closed the overall bellow measures 13" deep, with foot pedal extended 16"
From the front view, the item measures 9.5" wide and from the bottom to the top of the nickel metal piece, 19.5"
Item weighs approximately 18 lbs without shipping material and shipping box.
Regardless of which vital purpose this was meant to support in our history, it is one substantial presentation which has received much attention throughout it's term with us. A real conversation promoter!!
Call or email Steve Gronow to get your questions answered and find out how to finalize your order.
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