History Of Scuba Diving
The history of scuba diving goes back centuries. There is evidence that ancient Greeks dove for hunting and military purposes. The story of Scyllis, from 500 BC, relates how he escaped and avoided re-capture by the Persians by hiding under water, using a reed snorkel to breathe. He resurfaced at night to sabotage the Persian ships. But technology specifically designed for scuba diving didn't emerge until the 1500's.
The diving bell, invented in 1535 by Guglielmo de Loreno, is the first major piece of technology in the history of scuba diving. Inside the hell at the top was air compressed by water pressure. The bottom section was open to the water. When they needed, scuba divers would return to the bell for air until there was no more left. The diving bell allowed people to stay submerged for much longer than was previously able.
A helmet originally invented for firefighters in 1826 was the first foray into suits made specifically for scuba diving. The helmet was attached directing to the scuba diver's body with straps. Air was provided from the surface. In 1837, Augustus Siebe attached this helmet to a watertight diving suit for the first time.
The first underwater breathing device was invented in 1865 by Benoit Rouquarol and Auguste Denayrouse. It consisted of a tank connected to a mouthpiece. A hose pumped compressed air into the tank from the surface. The scuba diver could stay disconnected from the hose for only a few minutes. The use of high pressure air in the self-contained breathing device invented by Yves Le Prieur in 1933 freed the scuba diver from surface-based air hoses. It was also around this time that goggles and swimming fins were developed.
The development in the history of scuba diving that led to the breathing equipment used today is the Aqua Lung. It was invented by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan in 1943. The Aqua Lung is the first example of an open circuit air supply. This efficient system only required the slightest inhale for air. Wetsuits are commonly used in scuba diving today and were invented in 1956 by researchers at the University of California. This same year the distinctive "Diver Down" red and white flag is introduced. Since 1990 there have been many additional developments like mixed breathing gases, full face masks and underwater voice communication systems.