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Halley's diving bell. Engraving of Halley's diving bell of 1716. Although best known for discovering the famous comet named after him, the astronomer & physicist Edmond Halley (1656-1742) was also the first to develop a commercially successful diving bell, which led to greatly improved wreck salvage in shallow waters. The diver's helmet, called a "cap of maintenance", was connected to the bell by a leather pipe held open by a steel spring. Air in the bell was continuously replenished by relays of weighted buckets carrying fresh air from a ship overhead. Halley used the bell himself, claiming the air it delivered was so sweet that he once drank a bowl of punch on the sea bed.
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