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Nicholas Toth: 'The Last Helmet Maker'

Toth, a Tarpon Springs resident, is currently the only known artist who still creates the iconic diving helmets from copper and brass. This week, Tarponites will have a chance to meet the legend in person.

Artist Nicholas Toth will make an appearance at the Artists' Faire Gallery from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25.

Toth is the creator of the well-known copper and brass diving helmets that folks see around Tarpon Springs and the world. Helmets like Toth's are no longer used for sponge diving but are considered to be extraordinary pieces of art.

According to a press release from Artists' Faire, Toth is continuing a family tradition of 100 years as his grandfather, Anthony Lerois, was a helmet maker who settled in Tarpon Springs in 1913. 

The roots of Toth's type of helmet making comes from the Dodecanese islands in Greece, a sister area to Tarpon Springs.

Currently, Toth is the only known craftsman in the world that carries on this type of helmet making tradition, according to the release, which stated that each helmet takes more than 320 hours to complete.

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Toth is a graduate of the University of Florida and worked as an apprentice to his grandfather post-college, where he began his journey as an artist and helmet maker.

According to the release, Toth's work has been a feature of many media outlets, including newspapers, magazines and television. He was also prominently featured on National Geographic's Explorer Series.

The release added that Toth has garnered many awards over the years, including:

  • Two-Time Florida Individual Artist Fellowship recipient in 1998 and 2012

  • Represented the State of Florida in the 200th anniversary of the Library of Congress in 2000

  • Awarded placement in the collection of the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress in 2000  

  • Awarded the E.R. Cross Award by the Historical Diving Society in 2006

  • Florida Folk Heritage Award recipient presented by former Florida Governor, Charlie Crist

  • National Heritage Fellowship recipient presented by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2003

The public is invited to meet Toth on Friday and view his artwork. The event is free and open to the public. 

View the entire press release and event in the Tarpon Springs Patch calendar.

Jason Bartolone January 21, 2013 at 01:27 PM
Yet another cool little piece of history from Tarpon Springs!
Katie Dolac January 21, 2013 at 04:58 PM
It is beautiful work! Awesome!
Jenna Mingledorff January 24, 2013 at 01:00 AM
What beautiful art work! This is truly one of a kind! I can't wait to see more of his work Friday night.

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