This bizarre fallout suit which appears to be built for otherworldly creatures, come to us from the mind of Leonardo Da Vinci. Sketches of the proto diving apparatus were found in the Codex Arundel, a bound collection of notes written by Leonardo between 1480 and 1518. Today several models of his diving apparatus exist around the world, there is even a video here of the diving suit in action.
Unfortunately, this 16th-century scuba suit was never actually built in Leonardo’s time. And although it’s unclear if da Vinci came up with the idea for his diving suit when he was living in Milan or Venice, evidence suggests he envisioned it as a military technology, potentially meant to help the Republic of Venice beat the much stronger Ottoman navy.
Da Vinci also considered the technology for his diving suit so powerful and dangerous that he refused to divulge its details, fearing it could fall into the wrong hands and be abused by the “evil nature of men.”
“I do not describe my method of remaining underwater for as long a time as I can remain without food,” he wrote elsewhere in his notebooks. “This I do not publish or divulge on account of the evil nature of men who would practice assassinations at the bottom of the seas, by breaking the ships in their lowest parts and sinking them together with the crews who are in them.”
The Complete Plans show a leather suit and facemask, with glass goggles, an inflatable wineskin to adjust buoyancy and enable sinking and floating and two hollow breathing tubes made of canes leading from the diver’s mouth up to the surface of the water.
The breathing tubes were joined together with steel springs and covered in a watertight fabric. The steel springs gave the cane flexibility at the joints and prevented the softer watertight fabric from collapsing under pressure.
Some iterations of the suit show the cane hoses attached to a floating disc, while others have them leading to a pocket of air trapped by a diving bell. Other drawings of the diving suit also included a coat with a pouch to hold the inflatable leather wineskin and a urination bottle so the diver could remain underwater for a long period. [Atlas Obscura]