Karl Heinrich Klingert's diving suit, 1797
German mechanic Karl Heinrich Klingert creats a device which is the first to be called a "diving suit”. This equipment consists of a jacket and trousers made of waterproof leather, a helmet with a porthole, and a metal front. It is linked to a turret with an air reservoir, which, however, cannot replenish itself.
Karl Heinrich Klingert was an ingenious inventor and mechanic, but an unlikely designer of diving equipment, living as he did several hundred miles from the sea in eastern Europe. Nevertheless at the end of the eighteenth century he invented and constructed several items of diving apparatus, the last of which was a 'open' helmet that also made use of a cylinder of compressed air from which the diver was able to breathe independently of the surface. Klingert's designs, however, were not put into practice despite their publication in two of his books.
The 'open' helmet was re-invented shortly afterwards and led to a revolution in diving; and much later the use of compressed air for diving became commonplace.