It was founded by:-
- Max Eugene Nohl, a diver who lived in Milwaukee. In the early 1930s he had national publicity for his salvage operations on a sunken steamship, the John Dwight.
- John D. Craig, a Hollywood movie producer, a pioneer in underwater photography, who wanted to film the possible salvage of the RMS Lusitania.
- Jack Browne, a diver.
- Edgar End, a physician who worked in hyperbaric medicine.
In World War II DESCO made hardhat diving gear and oxygen rebreathers for the US Navy. DESCO continues in business in Milwaukee. They produce various models of diving helmets, and related diving gear, and represent Hunter Drysuits, Composite Beat Engel DeepSea helmets, and Broco Welding.
The DESCO "air hat", introduced in 1968, is still manufactured and is popular among air divers and particularly those working in contaminated environments; its free-flow, positive-pressure design affords an extra safety margin when contaminants are present. As compared to demand helmets, the air hat is simple and inexpensive to operate and maintain.
- Kane, John R (March 1998). "MAX E NOHL AND THE WORLD RECORD DIVE OF 1937" (PDF). SPUMS Journal. South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society. 28 (1): 56–59. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- http://www.descocorp.com (information site)
- http://www.therebreathersite.nl/03_Historical/Desco_B_Lung.htm (about rebreathers which they made or make)