Lately, I came in contact with Melven Wevers. Melvin is the son of Frank Wevers, whom I met approximately 24 years ago. At that time, a man who helped me with my own Dutch Diving Helmet had a mould of the Swindell helmet in his workshop. A rear find, so I asked who owned the mould. Through this contact I came in contact with Frank and found out he was developing a professional diving helmet. Unfortunately, Frank died before finishing his work.
A short while ago, I came in contact with his son Melven who was still in possession of his father’s prototype. We agreed to do an interview and I was able to see the prototype made by Frank.
Here’s the story, another part of the Dutch diving heritage:
Frank Wevers worked as a professional diver. Frank started his diving career, as a lot of Dutch professional divers do, at the diving school of the Dutch army. After his service, he spend most of his time working and diving in the middle-east region.
During this period, we talk about the late 60’s till the 90’s, he used several types of diving helmets. Frank noticed that there could be some adjustments made and started making his own diving helmet. Frank’s design was based on his personal experience with diving helmets. This meant that he wanted to build a diving helmet with less weight, more compact and both safe and easy to operate.
Melven remembered that Frank build some prototype’s of fibreglass. Step by step he added the parts for the air intake, anti fog system, and exhaust valve. Unfortunately the first prototypes don’t exist many more. The only prototype in existence is the one of the pictures below.
Description of the diving helmet:
Frank’s diving helmet is designed as a free flow helmet with an inner and an outer shell. The outer shell has two openings at the top of the helmet to allow water entering this space between the inner and outer shell.
The visor of the helmet is made of polycarbonate and follow the round shape of the helmet.
The air intake is mounted on the back of the helmet. This intake leads the air to the airtrain on the right hand side inside the helmet. The airtrain can be adjusted with a defogger knob on the right outside of the helmet.
The exhaustvalve is based on the left side of the helmet. The airflow can be adjusted with a rotary knob on the left hand side of the helmet.
Between the two rotary knobs and at the outside of the helmet are two safety devices attached to secure the neckdam to the helmet.
On the inside between the air intake and the anti fog system is a socket mounted for the use of a comms device.
Melven told ha he had made some testdives with Franks prototype. It was diving great and promised to be a good starting point for Frank’s idea. Unfortunately he got sick and passed away. What left is great memories of a diver who followed his dream to create a diving helmet.
Beside his prototype diving helmet, Melven also has a bronze cast Swindell helmet, also made by his father Frank. Melven said Frank used this helmet because it has a similar air system but it was the opposite from what he wanted. During the years, the casting models (which I have seen at the late 1990’s) unfortunately were lost. This bronze model is not fit for actual diving. This helmet is for sale, if you’re interested, please contact Melven. For his email, see the end of this article.
There are still a lot of question that need answers. Maybe one of our readers knew Frank or helped him with the development of his diving helmet. If so; please contact Melven at email@example.com. (Underscore between the M and Wevers) Your help would be highly appreciated.