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IndustryDiving equipment
Founded1844; 180 years ago (1844)
FounderCharles Edwin Heinke
Defunct1961 (1961)
FateIncorporated into Siebe Gorman
United Kingdom
ProductsAqualungs, diving helmets, dry suits, wetsuits diving masks, swimming fins, snorkel tubes

Heinke was a series of companies that made diving equipment in London, run by members of a Heinke family.


Family background

Gotthilf Frederick Heinke was born in Messeritz, Prussia in 1786.[1] He arrived in London in 1809 and worked initially as a victualler to build up capital.[2] He married Sarah Smith,[3] who bore him three sons and two daughters. The sons were John William Heinke (born 1816), Charles Edwin Heinke (born 1818), and Gotthilf Henry Heinke (born 1820). John married Louisa Margaret Leathart in 1840


In 1818, Gotthilf Frederick Heinke opened an ironmongery shop business in London and, in 1819, he got a workshop at 103 Great Portland Street in London.[a] Gotthilf Frederick opened a second premises at 3 Old Jewry, London in 1839.

Start of making diving helmets

Around 1844, Charles Edwin Heinke made his first diving helmet. Inspired by William F. Saddler, Heinke started using solid brass for diving helmets' breastplates, instead of copper sheet. Heinke's diving helmets had three similarly shaped circular windows. They did not have the outer protective grills as in other helmets; thus they had better visibility for divers, and it was easier to keep the windows clean. Heinke's main competitor was Siebe Gorman who also made diving helmets, and Heinke constantly tried to improve on designs. He introduced an additional exhaust valve on the front side of the breastplate, which is now called the "peppermill" because of the holes in its cover. This exhaust made it possible for the diver to ascend and descend much faster.[citation needed][dubious ]

In 1845, Charles brought in the "Pearler" helmet, with a square-pattern mould-cast (instead of oval and beaten) copper helmet. He became famous with this style. Their square breastplate made it easier for the diver to bend forwards to look for pearl oysters on the seabed. The idea was later copied by companies such as Siebe after Siebe took over Heinke, and even by Morse Diving in the USA.

20th century

WWII and after

1950s Heinke Hans Hass diving mask and snorkel tube

Unlike Siebe Gorman, who had only one series of serial numbers for their diving helmets, except for the last productions (which were meant most probably for the Russian Navy), Heinke used many series of serial numbers for them.


  1. ^ Around 1858, the addresses in Great Portland Street were renumbered and 103 became 79


  1. ^ Naturalisation Papers, Certificate 2712 issued 20 August 1858, copy available at The National Archives
  2. ^ Son JW Heinke's Baptism record of 1816
  3. ^ London, England Marriages & Banns 1754–1921
  4. ^ 'Fox vs Heinke' 1870 F104 The National Archives
  5. ^ Institute of Civil Engineers, Obituary, 30 December 1870
  6. ^ The Edinburgh Gazette, 28 January 1979.
  7. ^ a b Death Index[full citation needed]
  8. ^ Certified copy issued by Municipal agent, Tecombaca, 12 September 1883.
  9. ^ Heinke Lungs. Retrieved on 13 June 2019.
  10. ^ Heinke Delta dry suit. Retrieved on 11 June 2019.
  11. ^ Heinke Dolphin wetsuit. Retrieved on 11 June 2019.
  12. ^ Heinke Falla wetsuit. Retrieved on 11 June 2019.
  13. ^ "The Heinke Trophy Award". Archived from the original on 1 September 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  14. ^ Thurston, Susan (2004). "The first Broome recompression chamber 1914–2004". SPUMS J. 34 (2): 94–100. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  15. ^ "C.E.Heinke". Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2019.