History of scuba diving equipment concludes the differences from the first to the newest or even modern scuba diving equipment. The modern one consists of one or more gas tanks strapped to the diver’s rear, connected to an air hose and an invention called a demand regulator. The demand regulator controls the flow of air so that the air pressure in the diver’s lungs equals the water pressure.
History of Scuba Diving Equipments
Early Diving Equipment
Ancient swimmers used hollow pieces of reed to breathe air, the first simple snorkels were used to improve our underwater abilities.
Around 1300, Persian divers made imperfect goggles out of thinly sliced and polished tortoise shells. In the 16th century, wooden barrels were used as primitive diving bells, and for the first time divers were able to travel underwater with more than one gust of air, but no more than one.
More Than One Breath
In 1771, the English engineer, John Smeaton invented the air pump. A hose is connected between the air pump and the diving barrel, allowing air to be pumped into the diver. In 1772, the Frenchman, Sieur Freminet invented the rebreathing device which recycles the exhaled air from the barrel, this is the first self-contained air apparatus. Freminet’s invention was a bad one, the inventor died from lack of oxygen after being in his own apparatus for twenty minutes.
In 1825, English inventor William James designed another self-contained breather, an iron “belt” attached to a copper helmet.
The belt holds about 450 psi of air, enough for a seven-minute dive.
In 1876, the Englishman Henry Fleuss invented the closed circuit, oxygen rebreather. His invention was originally intended for use in repairing the iron doors of flooded ship bays. Fleuss then decided to use his invention to dive to a depth of thirty feet.
He died from pure oxygen, which is toxic to humans under pressure.
Tight Diving Suits
In 1873, Benoît Rouquayrol and Auguste Denayrouze built a new piece of the rigid diving suit with a safer air supply but weighing about 200 pounds.
Houdini Suit – 1921
The famous magician and escape artist, Harry Houdini (born Ehrich Weiss in Budapest, Hungary in 1874) was also an inventor. Harry Houdini surprised audiences by escaping handcuffs, straitjackets, and locked boxes, often doing so underwater. Houdini’s invention of the diver’s suit allowed the diver, in case of danger, to quickly escape the suit while submerged and escape safely and reach the surface of the water.
Jacques Cousteau & Emile Gagnan
Emile Gagnan and Jacques Cousteau co-founded the modern demand regulator and improved autonomous diving suit. In 1942, the team redesigned the car controller and created a demand controller that would automatically breathe in fresh air when the diver breathed. A year later in 1943, Cousteau and Gagnan began selling the Aqua-Lung.