Diving suits have enabled us to discover the deepest ocean depths. Diving suits developed to reclaim lost items from sunken ships or inspect ship’s hulls. They have opened up new possibilities for ocean exploration.
Some of the significant milestones in the evolution of the diving suit at a glance!
There are some of the significant milestones in the evolution of the diving suit from the past. Time by time, different types of diving suits were designed, and they were able to develop with technological enhancements.
“Diving Dress” by Konrad Kyeser was an interesting early concept of a diving suit!
In the journey of the development of the modern diving suit, there was Franz Kessler’s diving bell. Kessler was an artist, and he was an inventor within the Holy Roman Empire between the 16th and 17th centuries. The diving bell was one of his inventions. It was a simple but useful underwater exploration device.
Kessler has been inspired and enthusiastic by the earlier work of Guglielmo de Lorena. The latter dove in a sunken Roman vessel in his diving bell in the 1530s. Kessler’s devive an airtight, upside-down, wooden bell-chamber that could accommodate a small crew of divers. Once it was lowered into the water, air would remain trapped inside the bell. It allows the team to breathe underwater for a short period.
Leonardo Da Vinci invented the concept of air tanks with the diving suit!
Leonardo Da Vinci made the first known one of the concepts of air tanks in the 15th century. He made an alluring explanation of systems that could have used artificially for breathing air underwater in one of his notebooks. It is called the Atlantic Codex. He made some sketches of what appeared to be different kinds of snorkels and an air tank carried on the diver’s chest when they went to dive. Apart from that, no mention is made of whether these tanks were connected to the surface or not. Additionally, more drawings showed a form of a complete diving suit. It was equipped with some masks and a box containing air. And also, he included provisions for a urine collector in his design. Da Vinci made designs for an “Underwater Army” diving suit with sheepskin suit, bamboo pipes, and a bell-shaped air-trap.
John Lethbridge developed and used one first diving suit to dive wrecks for salvage.
An English inventor named John Lethbridge developed one of the first known in the early-1700s. It was wholly enclosed suits to help divers during salvage work on sunken ships. This suit helped the diver with a fair amount of manoeuvrability to complete the task successfully. Lethbridge used the device to dive many wrecks after initial trials in his garden pond. There were four sunken English men of war, a Spanish galleon, one East Indiaman, and some galleys. Lethbridge became very rich through his exploits as a salvage diver. With one particular dive on Madeira’s sunk, Dutch Slotter Hooge netted him three tons of silver.
Pierre Remy de Beauve’s diving suit was another essential step in the journey of the development of the diving suit.
French aristocrat Pierre Rémy de Beauve was one of the leading personality who made another significant step toward developing the diving suit in the 1710s. His diving dress’ was composed of a metal helmet and two connected hoses. One hose supported the helmet with air from above via a bellows. The other removed the diver’s exhaled air.
Charles and John Deane invented the first diving helmets!
Another significant milestone in the modern diving suit development was Charles and John Deane’s diving helmet. The brothers were able to produce the design for potential use underwater by building on their work for an earlier smoke helmet. It was developed for the fire brigade in the 1820s.
Diving bells were the primary go-to for dive and rescue missions at that time. But they were minimal. The Deane’s design was a large metal bowl with vision ports that also sported a short jacket. It could prevent water from reaching the wearer’s face. Air supplied to the helmet via a surface air pump, and it included an air exhaust. It would direct bubbles away from the diver’s field of vision.
Lodner D. Phillips developed the atmospheric diving suit!
The diving suit of Lodner D. Phillips was another essential step in the evolution of diving suits. Phillips was able to develop one of the world’s first-ever, fully-enclosed atmospheric diving suits in the 1860s. This suit featured a viewing chamber, articulated joints, and even a hand-cranked propeller for movement. Although there is documentary evidence of the suit’s existence, yet it is not clear if one was ever made for use. In the 1880s, The Carmagnolle Brothers, able to draw their inspiration from Phillip’s design. They developed their own articulated atmospheric diving suit.
“The Old Gentleman of Raahe” can be known as one of the world’s oldest surviving diving suits!
Another essential design in the evolution of the diving suit was “The Old Gentleman of Raahe.” It is created to help inspect the hulls of ships without the need for dry-dock. Currently, this can be known as one of the oldest surviving early diving suits in the world. This suit has constructed using hand-stitched seams dating to the early 18th century. This diving suit was sealed and waterproofed utilizing a mixture of mutton tallow, tar, and pitch. The helmet of the diving suit was reinforced with a wooden frame. It was to prevent it from collapsing, and an air pipe was affixed to the front. Using bellows supplied the air, and exhaust air was removed using a tube at the helmet’s rear.
Mike Humphrey and Mike Borrow’s JIM Suit -This was a revolutionary diving suit!
With time, another milestone in the evolution of the diving suit was the JIM diving suit. This diving suit was developed in the late-1960s by Mike Humphrey and Mike Burrow. The first JIM diving suit was inspired by Joseph Peress’s 1930s Tritonia diving suit. It was an atmospheric diving suit and specifically designed to maintain the internal pressure of 1 atmosphere despite external water pressure. There were no gas mixtures required. The deep-sea divers did not need to undergo decompression when they returned to the surface.
Its diving suit was made from cast magnesium and weighed around 499 kg. It featured breathing apparatus that supplied air for up to 72 hours. It was able to deliver air through the mask directly to the diver’s mouth and nose.
SCUBA gear was another essential step evolution of the diving suit!
There is no doubt that diving equipment would be complete without discussing self-contained underwater breathing apparatus like SCUBA. There are many of the essential elements of SCUBA that the 1940s had invented. It was notably by Henry Fluess’ rebreather.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan can modify them sufficiently and make SCUBA practical use for most people. They were able to redesign a car regulator to work as a demand valve that can provide divers with a compressed air supply with each breath. Here, the compressed air was stored in a tank and allowing the diver to swim untethered for long periods for the first time. Then there was an apparatus called the “Aqua-Lung” by Cousteau and Gagnan. It was lightweight and relatively easy-to-use. This SCUBA diving equipment suddenly opened up and used diving for pleasure to the general public.
Phil Nuytten’s “Newtsuit” is a very light and robust diving suit!
When considering the “Newtsuit”, it is the current go-to diving suit for sea discovery and underwater work. Phil Nuyetten invented this diving suit in the late1980s. It is a fully articulated atmospheric suit for divers, and it enables divers to reach a depth of up to 305 meters. This diving suite features an acrylic dome for visibility.
An optional backpack can modify it with two horizontal and two vertical thrusters that are added manoeuvrability underwater. This diving suit is primarily using for ocean drilling rigs, salvage work, pipelines, and photographic studios. This suit is the standard deep-sea diving suit of many of the world’s navies too. It is not like the JIM suit; the Newtsuit is primarily produced of aluminium, trimming its total weight down to 113 kgs. It makes it more practical and easier to use than its heavier predecessor.
What Are SCUBA Suits Made Of?
Scuba diving suits are primarily made from the same material as the typical wetsuit makes. These diving suits help to keep the body warm, not by keeping water out. But with the help of thermal regulation and the body’s heat to warm up the water that gets inside. Drysuits are another possibility that allows and keeps water out as they are made from waterproof tri-laminate materials. These suits are not as often used as wet diving suits, though.
What is the material that scuba suits made of?
The answer to the problem of what material is used to make scuba diving suits is neoprene. The main component of a diving suit worn by surfers, divers, and other water sport enthusiasts is often flexible and comfortable. Synthetic rubber material stretches, and also it conforms to the body. Because of that, everyone gets an ideal fit as long as they choose the right size of a diving suit.
Different Thickness Levels in Diving suits
Not all diving suits are made of the same material. They all use neoprene for diving suits, and the amount of neoprene varies from each other. Every suite has a different thickness level for different water temperatures. Most SCUBA diving suit brands commonly using start out at 2mm thick and go up to 8mm. When it thicker the diving suit, the warmer you will be in the water.
Most diving suits also have a zipper. And you must be able to get the material in and out of it. Many diving suits have a zipper down the back, and some newer styles feature front zippers. With the stretchy fabric in the diving suit, it should be easy to get in and out of your diving suit once you get it unzipped.
Stitching and Sealing
The stitching and sealing of the diving suit are also handy to know. You do not want a flatlock stitching pattern in cold water, allowing more water to seep in. Double-blind stitch like aka sealed or sealed and taped gets used on thicker diving suits to prevent excess water flooding into it. It is a tad pricier than suits with flatlock seams. Many standard options come with flatlock stitching, and it is essential to be sure you at least up the thickness level if you will be in the cold.
What is a diving helmet?
A diving helmet used in underwater diving, and it is a rigid head enclosure with a breathing gas supply. These diving helmets are worn mainly by professional divers engaged in diving, and most models can be used with scuba equipment. The upper side of the helmet, known colloquially as the hat or bonnet. It may be secured to the diver or diving suit by a lower part, known as a neck dam, corselet, or breastplate. That depends on the construction and regional language preferences.
This diving helmet seals the whole of the diver’s head from the water. It also allows the diver to see underwater, and it provides the diver with breathing gas. It also protects the diver’s head when doing heavy or dangerous work. It usually provides voice communications with the surface and possibly other divers too. Suppose a situation that, like a helmeted diver, becomes unconscious, but he is still breathing. In that case, the helmet will remain in the appropriate place and continue to deliver breathing gas until the diver can be rescued. Recreational divers typically use the scuba regulator, and they must be held in the mouth by bite grips. So, it can be fall out of an unconscious diver’s mouth and result in drowning.