Lethbridge's diving machine, modern model

Lethbridge's diving machine, modern model

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Credit: OAR/NATIONAL UNDERSEA RESEARCH PROGRAM/SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION/NOAA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Lethbridge diving machine. Reconstruction of the first diving machine, invented by John Lethbridge (1675-1759) in 1715. The machine comprised a wooden barrel topped with a metal cap, with sealed holes for the arms and a glass plate to permit viewing. Air was pumped in to the machine through an air line from bellows at the surface. This maintained an internal pressure of one atmosphere inside the machine, which prevented decompression sickness (DCS, or the bends). This was purely fortuitous, as the principles surrounding DCS were not known for over 150 years. Lethbridge made a fortune using his machine to salvage precious cargo from wrecks.

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Keywords: 1700s, 1715, 18th century, adult, bell, britain, british, diver, diving, diving machine, historian, historical, history, history of science, invention, john lethbridge, lethbridge, one atmosphere, reconstruction, salvage, sea, technological, technology, uk, underwater, united kingdom, water, wreck

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