Modern recreational SCUBA diving is a freeing, world-altering experience which allows millions of people to spend a reasonable amount of time underwater. Today’s diving setups basically consist of an almost naked human swimming freely with just the bare essential equipment to supply us with precious air to breathe.
But before the advent of S.C.U.B.A. people still wanted to work and explore underwater, and the myriad of inventions people came up with to accomplish this task is much more diverse, and ancient, than you might realize. Many of us are familiar with the now classic dive helmet but this device was an evolution of many other creative ideas, many of which with questionable usefulness and practicality.
The pop culture blog Io9 put together such a great collection of these diving inventions that you are encouraged to check out their write up on these now-extinct underwater machines. Some of them are as old as three hundred years, but there definitely was a heyday of underwater exploration following the industrial revolution in the latter half of the 1800s.
The next time you think your dive gear is too heavy, try to imagine going underwater in a steel dive suit which looks more like it was designed to go into outer space. Or could you picture yourself stuck in a barrel face down with just your arms to poke around? There’s no doubt that there’s never been a better time for recreational divers to explore underwater, and we owe it all to the intrepid explorers who risked their lives in these various
death traps diving inventions. [Io9]