Thursday, January 2, 2014

Dangers of 1836 Diving Apparatus

Thursday, January 2, 2014

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Loretta reports: 

A while back I wrote about an early submarine and the perils of underwater travel devices in the 19th century.  Given the state of technology in the early 1800s, one might expect trouble—but not the kind described in this entry in the Annual Register's Chronicle for 1836.*
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JANUARY

2.  Escape From Suffocation.— A tradesman in Blackman-street, named Caston, carrying on the occupation of a "general dealer," had a narrow escape from suffocation a few days ago, under singular circumstances. Amongst some articles he had purchased at a sale was a diving apparatus, to enable the wearer to remain under water for a considerable time. Never having before seen a machine of a similar construction, Mr. Caston determined to try it in the first instance on terra firma, and for this purpose drew the helmet or cap over his head, and then adjusted that part which fitted the lower extremities. He, however, omitted the most essential part of the apparatus — namely, the valve which admitted the air into that portion which fitted over his head and face. This neglect nearly cost him his life; for when one of his servants entered the warehouse, Mr. Caston was discovered rolling about on the floor, enveloped in the diving apparatus, apparently in great agony. The servant entered just in time to extricate his master.
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View online here

 These illustrations are later, although, apparently the basic setup didn't change very much until the 20th century.  You can see more images of early diving dress here.

*Google Books thinks it's 1837, but they've been confused before.



1 comments:

Terri Stewart said...

Check out the description of an early diving bell used in the Stockholm harbor about 1664 to salvage the guns from the Vasa http://hem.bredband.net/johava/WASA2e.htm#lift

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