Edmond Halley`s Diving Bell
Like so many great scientists, astronomer, Halley`s work was wide ranging, and he made significant contributions in several disciplines. It was in 1690 that he developed a diving bell. This is how he described it:
The Art of Living Under Water; Or, A Discourse Concerning the Means of Furnishing Air at the Bottom of the Sea, in Many Ordinary Depths, by Edmond Halley. LL.D. Secretary to the Royal Society.
The bell I made use of was wood, containing about 60 cubic foot in its concavity, and was of the form of a Truncate-Cone, whose diameter at top was three foot, and at bottom five. This I coated with lead so heavy that it would sink empty, and I distributed the weight so about its bottom, that it would go down in a perpendicular situation and no other. In the top I fixed a strong but clear glass, as a window to let in the light from above, and like wise a cock to let out the hot air that had been breathed: and below, about a yard under the bell, I placed a stage which hung by three ropes, each of which was charged with about one hundred weight, to keep it study. This machine I suspended from the mast of a ship, by a sprit which was sufficiently secured by stays to the masthead, and was directed by braces to carry it over board clear of the ship side, and to bring it again within-board as occasion required.
Halley himself experimented with the diving bell and remained submerged with several other passengers, on one occasion, for an hour. Improvements were considered, but it is not known if they were implemented. To replenish the air in the bell, Halley proposed using weighted barrels which would be lowered and connected to the interior of the bell by a pipe; a hole in the bottom of the barrel would allow the air to be replaced by water. As the bell was very heavy and not very maneuverable he considered using divers fitted with glass helmets and connected to the bell by a breathing tube.
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|| De Halley's diving bell 1690
||Diving bell, 1690 Edmund Halley`s wooden diving bell