The Original Diving Apparatus is Back
The next chapter of an American diving manufacturing legend is here.
Successors to Craftsweld and A. Schrader’s Son
Quality and Craftsmanship in a Story that Continues…
A young mechanic named August Schrader, arrived in New York in 1840, from Hamburg, Germany. By the spring of 1844, he had saved up enough money to purchase some machinery, and open a shop at 115 John St. in Manhattan. He was a manufacturer of “daguerreotype apparatus” cameras and then in a brief partnership with Christian Baecher, as a “turner and finisher of brass”. In 1846, Schrader took interest in an underwater race between two divers, off the Battery in lower Manhattan. He was more interested in the equipment being used, than the outcome of the event. After having a chance to examine the equipment the divers wore, he was convinced that he could improve the design and manufacture of the helmets.
By 1849, Schrader had produced two helmets, which were sold to the Union India Rubber Company for $12.00 apiece. In January, 1850, he sold Union India Rubber Company one air pump for $25.00. More orders were to follow. An improved air pump was produced and exhibited at the Industrial Fair of 1856, at the Crystal Palace in New York. A diploma was awarded with the inscription, “An air pump attached to a diver’s dress, well manufactured and powerful.”
By 1887, Schrader was in partnership with his son George. August retired in 1892, two years before his death. In 1892 George received a patent for a valve for pneumatic tires, and by 1904 the company was incorporated. In 1913 the company moved to Brooklyn, NY. Also as a published author, George ran the company in absentia, preferring to spend his time with writing and in philanthropic endeavors in New York and Iceland. His death occurred in 1915 aboard ship, sailing from Iceland to Norway.
In 1930, A. Schrader’s Son, Inc. became a subsidiary of the Scovill Manufacturing Company, with offices worldwide. In 1952, Scovill sold the A. Schrader’s Son, Inc. rights, trademark and tooling, drawings, etc. to Craftsweld Equipment Corporation, of Long Island City, NY. Craftsweld continued to produce Schrader helmets and other diving equipment, electing to use their brand name only. In 1999, Craftsweld sold the A. Schrader’s Son, Inc. business to Ray Mathieson, owner of Atlantic Diving Equipment Company, located in Bowie, MD. With Ray’s untimely passing in 2016, A. Schrader’s Son, Inc. found a new home and owner in Bucks County, PA.
Diving Equipment CoPresent Day
Museum Quality Detail and Preservation of the Past
John Heinz, the new owner of A. Schrader’s Son, Inc., has been working with metal since he was a teenager, and professionally since he was twenty five years old. Originally receiving training as a blacksmith in the historic trades department of Colonial Williamsburg, he has spent decades working in the restoration field, primarily in 18th century architectural ironwork. However, he has also studied medieval European arms and armor making, 18th century English and German locksmithing and tool making, as well as being a knife maker. Twenty years ago he started working in the vintage diving field as a sub contractor for Morse Diving, Inc., supplying all the copper breastplates for the commercial and MK V helmets. Several years later, he started doing the same for A. Schrader Diving Equipment Co.. He also did restoration work for the owner of Schrader. He has been a diver for over 35 years, and as a firefighter, dives for a search and recovery unit.
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