The desire to go under water has probably always existed. We were built to walk on Earth but from early history we have longed for two things - fly like birds and swim like fish.

  • 4500 B.C.
    Mesopotamia - Archaeologists found shells that must have come from the sea floor. 
  • 3200 B.C.
    Egypt, Theban VI Dynasty - Vast number of mother-of-pearl shell ornaments were unearthed.
  • 2500 B.C.
    Cretans worshiped the god Glaucus. Myths tell that Glaucus was a fisherman in Anthedon, a village famous for it's inhabitants love of diving.. Early Greek divers provided the known world with the majority of its sponges.
  • 2250 B.C.
    Empire of Emperor Yu. Red corals and abalone shells as well as oyster pearls were highly valued.
  • 8th century B.C.
    Relief carvings found in the ancient Ninive, dated to the reign of Ashurbanipal (at about 650 BC) show Assyrian soldiers crossing rivers using inflated goatskin floats.They are the first known "scuba divers".
  • 9th century B.C.
    Homer mentions divers several times in the Iliad:
    "It seems, then, that there are divers also among the Trojans."
    "What a graceful diver!
    If he were on the fish-filled seas somewhere,
    he'd feed a lot of men by catching oysters,
    jumping over in the roughest water..."
    The ancient Greeks practiced diving usually with little or no equipment.
  • 550 B.C.
    India and Ceylon - Pearl diving was flourishing. Valuable ocean treasures were found to have reached the Mediteranean through ancient trade routes.
  • Circa 500 B.C.
    According to Herodotus in the period of the Persian Wars, Scyllis, a sculptor, and his daughter Cyana were Greek divers who worked recovering treasure for the Persian king Xerxes, breath holding. They disabled Xerxes fleet by cutting the ships anchor lines using a hollow reed as snorkel to remain unobserved.
    Herodotus describes the ancient Greeks using freedivers performing underwater demolition tasks to the Persian fleet in Artemisio in 480 BC. Herodotus also describes how the Athenian army used freedivers to open the harbor chains during the invasion of Syracuse in 413 BC. ( also told by Thucydides)
  • 4th century B.C.
    The earliest version of a diving bell recorded by the Greek philosopher Aristotle: "...they enable the divers to respire equally well by letting down a cauldron, for this does not fill with water, but retains the air, for it is forced straight down into the water."
    Aristotle also tells the tale of Alexander the Great who descended in a device made of white glass which kept its occupants dry and let light in.
  • Circa 250 B.C.
    Archimedes, a Greek mathematician and physician, stated what is known as Archimedes Principle that helped to understand buoyancy.
  • 1st century B.C.
    The Ama or sea women of Japan dived to catch fish by hand and gathered seaweed, sea slugs, shelfish and pearl oysters. The tradition still exsists today.
  • 1st century B.C.
    Julius Ceasar use divers to recover valable sunken cargo front shipwrecks and in military missions.
  • 375 A.D.
    Drawing of a diving dress in a military handbook of Flavius Vegetius (De Re Militari Libri Quator). At this time the underwater world was closer to poetry then real physics. (It was printed in 1511.)
  • 196 A.D.
    At the siege of Byzantium the ships of the great Roman fleet of Septimus Severus were towed with ropes which were secretly attached by underwater warriors (urinators) from Byzantium to the bottom of the ships and floated without wind and oars towards the enemy fortress.
  • Circa 200
    Peruvian vase shows diver wearing goggles and holding fish.
  • Circa 1000
    A Viking pirate, Otto attacked a clan of Vikings but his chips were sank by divers drilling holes in the wooden hulls.
  • Circa 1000
    Al-Biruni, arabic scholar gives a description of a diving device with a leather sac and heavy weights that are used by divers at that time. He suggests a long leather tube fixed to inflated bags on the surface to eliminate the weights so "...the diver could then stay under water as long as he wished, even through the entire day."
  • 1150
    Bohaddin, an Arabian historian mentions that some kind of submarine equipment was used in order to enable a diver to get into Ptolemais with a message, when that city was besieged by the Crusaders.
  • 1190
    a German poem entitled " Salman and Morolf," makes the latter build a diving-boat of leather, in which he escapes from a dozen of his enemies' galleys and hides at the bottom of the sea for no less than fourteen days during which time he supplies himself with air through a long tube.
  • 12th-13th century
    During the Crusades divers carrier messages to and front the besieged Arabian seaport of Acre.
  • Circa 1230
    Friar Bacon, scientist writes about the possibilities opened out to divers by the employment of air-tubes. He says that equipment could be made to enable people to walk about below water.
  • 1300 or earlier
    Persian divers were using diving googgleswith windows made of the polished outer layer of tortoiseshell.
  • Circa 1440
    Jacopo Mariano scetched a diver with helmet (modified military helmet) connected to the surface by a tube.
  • 1450
    Mariano Taccola described a device for diving that resembled a horse's nosebag.
  • 15th century
    Leonardo da Vinci sketched diving outfits, helmet with leather breathing suit, glass face mask, hand and feet fins along with submarines machines like diving bell. He drew a scuba type system that was to hold the tank on the chest.
  • 1524
    Vallo designed a leather helmet with eye-ports and leather pipe reinforced with iron rings and float.
  • 1535
    Guglielmo de Loreno developed a true diving bell that rested on the diver's shoulders.
  • 1536
    Diego Ufano, a Spanish captain of artielly a leather diving helmet with a tube to the surface. The diver is equipped with weights on his legs, so he could walk ont he seabed.
  • 1538
    Toledo, Spain. During a diving exhibition two Greeks descended to the bottom of the river bed in a very large kettle, suspended by ropes, with the face downwards. They returned to the surface with dry clothes and a candle still burning. It was witnessed by the Emperor Charles V. and almost 10,000 spectators.
  • 1551
    Niccolo Tartaglia, Italian mathematician invented the diving 'hourglass', a tall wooden frame with an elongated glass ball for the diver's head.
  • Mid 1500s
    An etching in a book on Spanish artillery depicts a diver wearing a hooded mask with an air tube.
  • 1578
    Willam Bourne made the first detailed description of a submarine.
  • 1616
    Franz Kessler built an improved diving bell.
  • Circa1620
    Cornelis Drebbel, Dutch engineer made the first maneuverable submarine and also was the first to travel horizontally.
  • Circa 1620
    Sir Francois Bacon descibed the use of a diving bell that would enable the divers to work on the bottom and return to the bell for fresh air.
  • 1637
    The Chinese book Tiangong Kaiwu, published in the year 1637, showed a new diving method in Guangdong: the pearl divers were able to stay underwater for prolonged periods of time because they used a watertight leather face mask and a secure rope was tied around their waists connected to the ship as they breathed through a long curving pipe that led up above the surface of the water.
  • 1650
    Otto von Guericke built the first air pump.
  • 1660
    Boyle in his scientific work, The Spring and Weight of Air, discussed using an improved vacuum pump of his own design. He performed experiments which led him to the discovery of the relationship between pressure and volume of gases.
  • 1662
    Nathaniel Henshaw, an English clergyman named Nathaniel Henshaw invented what could be considered the first hyperbaric chamber, "domicilium."
  • 1667
    Robert Boyle - The first recorded observation of decompression sickness or "the bend." in the eye of a viper.
  • 1680
    Giovanni Alfonso Borelli designed the first closed circuit rebreather diving equipment . He was the first to visualize a diver as a frogman.
  • 1681
    A French priest named Abbe Jean de Hautefeuille writes The Art of Breathing Underwater, explaining for the first time why, "It is not possible for man to breathe air at normal atmospheric pressure when he is himself underwater at depth."
  • 1685
    Based on Sinclair's theories, Sir William Phipps uses a bell to recover nearly a million dollars' worth of treasure from the wreck of the Spanish galleon La Nuestra Senora de Almiranta in the West Indies.
  • 1689
    Denis Papin proposed a plan (apparently the first) to provide air from the surface to a diving bell under pressure.
  • 1691
    Edmund Halley built and patented a forrunner of the modern diving bell. It was made of wood coated with lead, had glass at the top to allow light to enter; there was also a valve to vent the air and a barrel to provide replenished air.
  • 1715
    Pierre Rémy de Beauve, a French aristocrat, designs a closed diving system where the helmet is attached to the diving dress. Exhaled air escaped through a second pipe.
  • 1715
    John Lethbridge built a "diving engine", an underwater oak cylinder that was surface-supplied with compressed air. Water was kept out of the suit by means of greased leather cuffs.
  • 1715
    An English inventor named Becker demonstrates his new invention: a full, leather diving suit and large, spherical metal helmet with a window. Three tubes lead from the helmet to the surface, one for exhaled air and the other two for fresh air pumped down by several large bellows.
  • 1719
    Mémoires et autres desseins de plo(n)geurs (memoirs and designs for divers) by Sieur Mainville. He describes the "free man" wearing a box on his head with four copper siphons for inhalation and for exhalation and an air reservoir, detachable lead weights on the belt.
    The "confined man" lies in a long box that is equipped with similar system.
  • 1772
    The first diving dress using a compressed-air reservoir is successfully designed and built by the French scientist, Fréminet. An autonomous breathing machine equipped with a helmet, two hoses for inhalation and exhalation, a suite and a reservoir, dragged by and behind the diver.
  • 1773
    David Bushell designed a one-man submarine, the Turtle. It failed the test during the American Revolution but formed the basis of later, more successful attempts.
    The best known drawing of David Bushell 's "Turtle" by Lieutenant F. M. Barber, U. S. N., 1875
  • 1775
    Jean-Baptiste de La Chapelle, a French priest, mathematician invented a primitive diving suit for soldiers which he called a "scaphandre" from the Greek words skaphe (boat) and andros (man).
  • 1775
    Charles Spalding lost a ship near Sunderland and used a diving-bell to locate it.
  • 1779
    Lavoisier named hydrogen (Greek for 'water-former') after discovering thaï when hydrogen bonds to oxygène, water is created. He determined thaï air was actually a mixture of independent gases.
  • 1779
    John Smeaton used a pump in conjuction with a much smaller diving bell which he called "diving chests".
  • 1796
    James Watt and Beddoes worked on oxigen therapy and also designed corrugated breathing tubes and mouthpieces for breathing oxygen.
  • 1797
    Karl Heinrich Klingert designes a full diving dress. This design consists of a large metal helmet and similarly large metal belt connected by leather jacket and pants.
    Klingert: Free flow diving helmet that is connected to an air tank
  • 1800
    Robert Fulton, american inventor builds a submarine, the "Nautilus".
    Robert Fulton demonstrates his nautilus to the French
  • 1803
    William Henry, English chemist published his findings that the amount of a gas in a solution varies directly with the partial pressure of that gas over the solution. It helped to understand better decompression sickness.
  • 1808
    Friedrich von Drieberg invented a bellows-in-a-box device, named Triton, did not actally work but it did serve to suggest that compressed air could be used in diving.
  • 1808
    Sieur Touboulic, mechanic in the Napoleon's Imperial Navy, patents the oldest known oxygen rebreather (but there is no evidence of any prototype having been manufactured). It was called Ichtioandre (Greek for 'fish-man')
  • 1819
    The first major breathrough in surface-support diving systems occured with Augustus Siebe's invention. His diving dress consisted of a waist-length jacket with a metal helmet sealed to the collar. Divers received air under pressure from the surface by force pump.
    Siebe's improved diving dress and pump in the London News, 1955
  • 1820
    Paul Lemaire d'Augerville (a Parisian dentist) invented and made a diving equipment with a copper backpack cylinder, and with a counter-lung to save air, and with an inflatable lifejacket connected.
  • 1823
    Charles Anthony Deane patented a "smoke helmet" for fire fighters. This helmet was used for diving, too. The helmet fitted over the head and was held on with weights. Air was supplied from the surface.
  • 1825
    An Englishman, William James, develops a system that several historians consider to be the first true scuba. It employs tanks of compressed air and a full diving dress with a helmet.
  • 1827
    Jean-Jeremie Pouilliot of Paris was the first to use a pneumatic regulator applied for breathing under water'.
    In the mid-17th century, Bishop John Wilkins had visualised colonies of people spending their entire lives under water. Pouilliot suggested living at a depth of 100m or more inside an underwater house he called 'l'hydrodome', its rooms, offices and double walls acting as storage for compressed air sent down from a boat on the surface.
    Jean Baudouin described a diver wearing two canisters of air situated on his chest and back, which supplied air to a helmet.
  • 1828
    Charles Deane and his brother John marketed the helmet with a "diving suit." The suit was not attached to the helmet, but secured with straps.
    An english engraving from 1830 that presents the scaphandre of the Deane brothers on the wreck of King George
  • 1832
    Emile Tabarie, a physician made studies on the effects of air pressure for medicinal purposes.
  • 1833
    Francois Magny
  • 1834
    Junod, a French doctor made the first hyperbaric chamber based on the designs of James Watt. It was capable of reaching pressure of 4 ATA, which is equivalent to being 100 feet under seawater.
  • 1837
    Morse and Fletcher established the manufacturer of brass goods. Today Morse Diving Inc. Still produces much of the same equipment it did in the past.
  • 1837
    Augustus Siebe sealed the Deane brothers' diving helmet to a full-body, watertight, air-containing rubber suit. His company, Siebe Gorman & Co developed diving equipment till the latest decades. (1819-1998)
  • 1838
    Dr. Manuel Théodore Guillaumet invented the first known regulator mechanism.
  • 1838
    Jean-Charles-Gustave Paulin, Commander of the Paris fire brigade, designed and built a helmet and suit for use in chemical fires.
  • 1839
    W.H.Thornthwaite of Hoxton in London patented an inflatable lifting jacket for divers.
  • Circa 1840
    The diving equipment of Dantez Gustave Hyacinthe Dantez was the father of the French diving suit according to historian Philippe Damon.
    The diving equipment of Dantez
  • Circa 1842
    The Frenchman Joseph-Martin Cabirol (1799-1874) settles a company in Paris and starts making standard diving dresses.
  • 1843
    The first diving school was established by the Royal Navy.
  • 1844
    Henri Milne Edwards using Paulin's improved helmet became the first recorded scientific diver and marine biologist to describe living subtidal communities. His figure appears as Professor Aronnax in the novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea written by Jules Verne.
  • 1844
    Gottlif Frederick Heinke, a coppersmith made his first helmet and became a very successful manufacturer of diving equipment. His most famous product is the Pearler style helmet. His company continued manufacturing till 1961.
  • 1849
    Pierre Amable de Saint Simon Sicard (a chemist) makes the first practical oxygen rebreather that was demonstrated in London in 1854.
  • 1853
    Professor T. Schwann designed a rebreather in Belgium; he exhibited it in Paris in 1878.
  • 1853
    Joseph Constant Delange, Charles.Henry Ernoux
  • 1853
    Philippe Bigard
  • 1855
    Joseph-Martin Cabirol presented a new model of diving dress. The suit was made of rubberized canvas and the helmet has a hand-controlled tap with safety valve for exhalation. It had a fourth window in the upper part of the helmet to watch above. It won the silver medal on the Exposition Universelle in Paris.
  • 1865
    Benoit Rouquayrol and Auguste Denayrouse, French inventors developed a suit with a copper and brass half helmet. It was attached to a protective dress and to the "Aerophere", an air reservoir that was carried on the diver's back.
  • 1869
    Jules Verne popularizes the concept of scuba in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. His central character, Captain Nemo, specifically cites the Rouquayrol/Denayrouze system and theorizes about the inevitable next step - severing the diver's reliance on surface-supplied air.
  • 1878
    Paul Bert, zoologist and politician publishes a textbook, La Pression Barometrique, based on his studies of the physiological effect of changes in pressure. Bert shows that decompression sickness is caused by the formation of gas bubbles in the body, and suggests that gradual ascent will prevent decompression sickness.
  • 1879
    Henry A. Fleuss, an english merchant seaman invented a closed-circuit oxygen rebreather equipment that consisted of a rubber mask, a breathing bag, a copper tank to hold the oxygen, and a scrubber. The closed-circuit system was designed to reuse the oxygen by removing the carbon dioxide.
  • 1879
    Fontaine, a French surgeon developed the first mobile hyperbaric chamber and realized that nitrous oxide was more effective during pressurized surgeries.
  • 1885
    E.W. Moir, a British architect, engineer and inventor was the first to employ medical air locks or recompession chambers for the use of caisson workers.
  • 1893
    The first underwater camera was invented by Louis Boutan.
  • 1898
    John Holland, a school teacher born in Ireland, designed the Navy's first submarine.

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