Grandson carries on family dive helmet tradition
Follower of the tradition of his grandfather Antony Lerios, he manufactures protective suits for the sponge divers. For many years, Nicholas Toth used his grandfather tools, in order to curb copper and brass, so that it can create Scuba, secure to lead – not only the Greeks -sponge divers, in the bottom of the sea who tested their harvest daily in the Gulf of Mexico.
Since 1913, when Anthony Lerios left from Kalymnos to be installed in Tarpon Springs Florida USA, the opportunities for his professional development were great. A group of about 500 Greek divers were immigrated just few years some before him and the sponge diving gave great opportunities for employment while the wealth of the bottom of the sea remained unused. Thus, Lerios was the man who supplied the divers with his famous scubas.
The years passed and Lerios pass his knowledge to his grandson, Nicholas Toth.
“I grew up watching him do all the jobs. I’d carry his tool boxes and when I was 11 I would stand at the lathe…at this lathe here,” he said, pointing to a lathe that belonged to his grandfather. “He would put his hands over my hands on the controls and turn my hands on the lathe so I would feel how it worked while it was cutting metal.”
As a worthy continuer of the tradition, he used exactly the same gear, which causes him to waste up to 250 hours of construction work for a single diving helmet. Nevertheless, the fleet of boats has declined dramatically in recent years. From 200 boats which were operating in business only three were remain. Five others were not dedicated to the sponge – and thus, they were characterized as pirate boats from the natives. Toth is the last master of his kind and states that he will continue the art as many years as he can. In 1992, his grandfather died at the age of 100 years. For Nicolas Thoth, manufacturing scubas is the only he has learned to do, so interrupts his work for a significant five years and as he explains that it was purely emotional, as it took him a considerable time to overcome the loss of the man who taught him what he knows today about the art he is practicing.