Diving Helmets and Collections at Frank’s Fisherman
If you’ve ever stepped foot into Frank’s Fisherman, most likely one of the things that stands out are the authentic diving helmets on display. Visitors are surprised to hear that most are for sale. While the ones currently on display were not specifically used on the Golden Gate Bridge, the store displays several fine examples of helmets from 1860 to 1970 including styles similar to what would have been used during the construction of the GG Bridge. Co-owner Ken Brown specializes in hard hat diving collections. He believes the history of diving deserves more recognition. Our hope is not only to buy and sell important pieces, but to educate the public about our local history.
Hard Hat Diving and the Golden Gate
Many visitors to San Francisco and even our locals don’t realize that hard hat divers were critical to the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge foundations, especially the South Tower.
In January of 1933 construction on the bridge began. Why would anyone accept the risks and challenges associated with diving the San Francisco Bay? Simply put this was the depression era and the work was steady. However, it took a certain type of individual to meet the challenges. Venturing as deep as 90 -100 feet while working blindly in cold and turbulent waters took grit and courage. Time underwater was dangerous, and precautions to avoid the bends, or Caisson disease meant limiting dives to 20 minutes. They guided beams, panels, blasting tubes and 40-ton steel forms into position and secured them, struggling all the while against strong currents that had the potential of sweeping them away.
Where to View the Golden Gate
Next time you admire the sun setting or the fog rolling through the gate take a moment to reflect on the men who dove beneath the bridge.
Here are just some of the best places to view and photograph the Golden Gate at sunrise, sunset or any time your visit brings you to Frank’s Fisherman and San Francisco.
- Fort Point,
- Fort Baker,
- Chrissy Field
- Battery East Vista
- Lands End
- Golden Gate Overlook
- Marin Headlands
- Presidio Marshall Beach