A brief look at the evolution of SCUBA

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Scuba diving has evolved through many stages with many experimental scuba diving apparatuses. SCUBA is an acronym for “Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus”. Early attempts at diving gear consisted of an air pump and diving barrel which allowed air to be pumped to the diver.

Jacques Cousteau & former PADI CEO John Cronin in 1970

Jacques Cousteau & former PADI CEO John Cronin in 1970

In 1825 the English Inventor, William James, designed a self-contained breather “belt” which was attached to a copper helmet and held enough air for a seven minute dive. Benoit Rouquayrol and Auguste Denayrouze in 1873 created a rigid diving suit which allowed for safer air delivery to the diver, however it weighed approximately 90 kilograms/200 pounds, which is not ideal for a diver.

A few years later in 1876, Henry Fleuss invented a closed circuit oxygen rebreather which was originally designed for the repair of a flooded ship’s chamber. Harry Houdini was the first known inventor of a “diver’s suit” in 1921. Houdini’s suit was designed so that if divers were in an emergency, they were able to quickly remove the suit whilst submerged and reach the top in an emergency. Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnan in 1942 re-evolved the regulator and improved the diving suit which they then began selling in 1943 known as the “Aqua-Lung”.

Scuba diving equipment has evolved over many years and many generations. These days all dive equipment is held on the diver which allows for easier use of equipment as well as an increased range of movement and the ability to explore the ocean to greater depths.