Scuba history from a diving bell developed by Guglielmo de Loreno in 1535 up to John Bennett’s dive in the Philippines to the amazing 308 meters in 2001 and much more…
Humans have been diving since man was required to collect food from the sea. The need for air and protection underwater was obvious. Let us find out how mankind conquered the sea in the quest to discover the beauty of the underwater world.
1535 – A diving bell was developed by Guglielmo de Loreno.
1650 – Guericke developed the first air pump.
1667 – Robert Boyle observes the decompression sickness or “the bends”. After the decompression of a snake, he noticed gas bubbles in the eyes of a snake.
1691 – Another diving bell a weighted barrel, connected with an air pipe to the surface, was patented by Edmund Halley.
1715 – John Lethbridge built an underwater cylinder that was supplied via an air pipe from the surface with compressed air. To prevent the water from entering the cylinder, greased leather connections were integrated into the cylinder for the operator’s arms.
1776 – The first submarine was used for a military attack.
1826 – Charles Anthony and John Deane patented a helmet for firefighters. This helmet was used for diving too. This first version was not fitted to the diving suit. The helmet was attached to the body of the diver with straps and air was supplied from the surface.
1837 – Augustus Siebe sealed the diving helmet of the Deane brothers’ to a watertight diving suit and became the standard for many dive expeditions.
1843 – The Royal Navy established the first scuba diving school.
1865 – An underwater breathing apparatus was developed and patented by Benoit Rouquayrol and Auguste Denayrouse. A steel tank filled with compressed air was connected to a valve and a mouthpiece. The tank was strapped to the diver’s back and the diver was a tether.
1877 – The first workable, self-contained diving rig that used compressed oxygen was developed by Henry A. Fleuss.
1893 – Louis Boutan invented the first underwater camera.
1908 – Detailed studies on the cause and symptoms of decompression thickness were published by John Scott Haldane, Arthur E. Boycott, and Guybon C. Damant.
1912 – Draeger of Germany introduces the first freely portable diving apparatus in the world. For the first time, people were able to move freely underwater for up to 40 minutes.
1912 – The U.S. Navy tested decompression tables published by John Scott Haldane, Arthur E. Boycott and Guybon C. Damant.
1917 – The Mark V Diving Helmet was introduced by the U.S. Bureau of Construction & Repair. The Mark V Diving Helmet was used for most salvage work during World War II and became the standard U.S. Navy Diving equipment.
1923 – W. H. Longley became famous for the first underwater color photos.
1924 – The U.S. Navy and Bureau of Mines conduct the first helium-oxygen experimental dives.
1925 – A very successful self-contained underwater breathing unit is introduced by Yves Le Prieur.
1930 – Rubber goggles with glass lenses are developed by Guy Gilpatric. Soon face masks and snorkels were in common use.
1930 – A bathysphere attached to a barge by a steel cable to the mother ship has been used for William Beebe descended to 435 meters.
1933 – Swim fins are patented by Louis de Corlieu in France.
1933 – Yves Le Prieur develops a demand valve with a high-pressure air tank. In this way, the diver became independent from hose connections to the surface.
1934 – Another descent to 924 meters in a bathysphere was undertaken by William Beebe and Otis Barton.
1935 – Louis de Corlieu designed a very popular fin for divers.
1939 – Dr. Lambertsen fully developed the Lambertsen Amphibious Respiratory Unit, or LARU, a closed-circuit, pure-oxygen rebreather in 1939 while a student at the Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
1941 – During World War II, closed-circuit scuba equipment are used by Italian divers to place explosives under British naval and merchant marine ships.
1942 – Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan redesigned a car regulator that would automatically provide compressed air to a diver on his slightest intake of breath.
1943 – The Aqua Lung was born. Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan designed and tested the first Aqua-Lung. This device is a fundamental improvement in air supply for divers.
1947 – A 94-meter dive record in the Mediterranean Sea was made by Dumas equipped with an Aqua Lung regulator.
1948 – The first Aqua Lung regulators were imported to the USA and the diving community quickly adopted this new, convenient device.
1948 – In California Otis Barton descended to a depth of 1372 meters in a modified bathysphere.
1950 – A completely self-contained new type of vessel called the bathyscaphe was designed by August Picard and his son Jacques to go deeper than any bathysphere.
1951 – Hans Hass published “Diving as Adventure”
1951 – The Reserve Valve, later commonly known as the “J” valve was developed.
1952 – “Silent World” was released by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Frédéric Dumas, and James Dugan.
1953 – “Underwater Safety” containing important basics on diving safety, was published by E. R. Cross.
1954 – The television program Kingdom of the Sea starring Zale Parry is aired in the US. That same year Parry broke the depth record by diving to 64 meters near Catalina, CA. Her record attracted many females to scuba diving.
1954 – The National Cooperation in Aquatics published the “Science of Skin and Scuba Diving” and it becomes the main textbook for diver education.
1955 – The first formal instructor certification program was created by Al Tillman and Bev Morgan.
1956 – At the University of California the first wetsuit is introduced by scientists and the red and white “Divers Down” flag was introduced by Ted Nixon.
1958 – Sherwood Manufacturing announce the piston regulator.
1959 – YMCA organized the first nationally scuba diver certification program and the Underwater Society of America was formed.
1960 – Al Tillman and Neal Hess create the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI).
1960 – Jacques Picard and Don Walsh descended to 10921 meters in the bathyscaphe “Trieste”.
1961 – The National Association of Skin Diving Schools (NASDS) was founded by John Gaffney.
1962 – A number of experiments were conducted whereby people lived in underwater habitats.
1963 – In the “Man in the Sea” project Ed Link spends 24 hours at 61 meters.
1966 – The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) was founded by John Cronin and Ralph Ericson.
1968 – A dive to 133 meters, using compressed air, was carried out by John J. Gruener and R. Neal Watson.
1970 – Bob Clark founded Scuba Schools International (SSI).
1971 – Scubapro introduces the Stabilization Jacket.
1980 – Divers Alert Network (DAN) was founded at Duke University to promote safe scuba diving.
1981 – A dive record of 686 meters was made at the Duke Medical Center decompression chamber.
1983 – The first commercially available dive computer, the Orca Edge, was introduced.
1985 – The wreck of the Titanic was found.
1990 – Further improvements and developments are taking place and finding their way into the scuba diving sport. The use of mixed gases, like Oxygen and Helium, full face masks, underwater voice communication, propulsion systems, computer, etc. became more common in
1994 – Bret Gilliam and Mitch Skaggs formed Technical Diving International (TDI)
1998 – Scuba Diving International (SDI) was created.
1999 – Chuck Driver and John Bennett descend to 200 meters. The deepest oceanic dive ever completed. The same year Barte Vestor set a challenging 225-meter mark.
2001 – John Bennett breaks his own world record in the Philippines, with a dive to an amazing 308 meters. More …