SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Underwater construction in the 1850s. Rostrum footage of an artwork showing underwater construction taking place in the 1850s. In the first half of the 19th century much work in underwater civil engineering, both in France and Great Britain, was undertaken with the use of diving bells, an example being Brunel's construction of the tunnel under the Thames. The new Westminster Bridge (1854-1860) was built by men wearing diving suits made by John Heinke. Here, pre-numbered stone blocks are being lowered underwater from the surface by crane to the construction workers. The German-born British engineer Augustus Siebe developed the standard diving suit apparatus in the 1830s, consisting of a metallic (copper and brass or bronze) diving helmet, an airline or hose from a surface-applied air pump, a watertight canvas diving suit, a diving knife and weighted boots.
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