The Progression of the Diving Suit
Though diving has been around for thousands of years, for much of that time the technology was rudimentary and a diving suit consisted mainly of a waterproof helmet or rudimentary reeds and tubes that fed air to the diver. However, the history of the diving suit is long and interesting, and early attempts to develop a real suit resulted in outfits that looked very different from what is used today. For those eager to learn more about the history of the scuba dive Freeport Bahamas is a good place to start, as there are thousands of enthusiasts there who visit and take part in this ancient sport.
While diving bells and snorkels have been documented to exist for several thousands of years, real "diving suits" came a bit later. Some of the earliest sketches of a suit were done by Leonardo di Vinci in the 16th century. His suit was made of leather and the helmet had tubes that led to a diving bell on the surface for air.
Edmund Halley was another forefather of the diving suit, and also contributed to the design of the diving bell by adding an air replenishing system. Halley came up with one of the first helmets, which was actually similar to a mini-diving bell. It was connected by a tube to the larger diving bell, thereby supplying it with oxygen.
This is not the only helmet or suit that borrows from the design of a diving bell. A diving bell/suit combo was used in trying to salvage the wreck of a Roman ship in Italy, in Lake Nemi, by Guglielmo de Lorena in 1535. The diving bell helmet just covered his head and shoulders, allowing him air to breath, and had tubes that fed fresh air into it.
Pierre Remy de Beauve in 1715 created yet another suit with a metal helmet. This helmet was different in that it had two tubes coming from the it, one which pumped fresh air in, the other sucked used air out. In fact, heavy metal helmets on lighter suits were a common theme in the 18th and 19th centuries, as the heavier metal combated water pressure and was more securely waterproof. There were fully metal suits available as well, however, such as the one designed by Alphonse and Theodore Carmagnolle in 1878.
A big jump forward in suit technology was the vulcanized rubber invented in 1839 by Charles Goodyear, which could then be used in lighter, more modern diving suits. Then, in the 1920s and 1930s, the invention of modern fins and goggles moved diving technology even closer to what we have today. It is worth noting though that polished tortoiseshell goggles were being made as early as 1300, though they were far more rudimentary.
While Goodyear's rubber was a wonderful advancement for its time, in the 1950s a better fabric for diving came about. Neoprene was invented by Hugh Bradner, and was not only light but helped to keep divers warm. Bradner also helped develop the SCUBA gear, which is still in use today, making him central to the advancement of diving as a sport and leisure activity.
For those who want to simply scuba dive Freeport Bahamas has beautiful oceans and reefs. However, eager students there should also take some time to explore the fascinating and long history of the sport. From the diving suit to the early pioneers of diving, there is much more to this activity than meets the eye.