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Scuba Diving – Brief History

Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus contrary to popular belief dates back to before the twentieth century. In 1878 an English diving engineer Henry Fleuss designed the first commercially produced scuba units manufactured by Siebe Gorman, they were oxygen closed circuit rebreathers. These units had tight depth limits because divers breathed oxygen. In 1929 the new DSEA units were commonly used in military applications such as Combat Swimming, Tank and Submarine Escape Apparatus. The famous Lieutenant Commander Lionel “Buster” Crabb who operated in the covert espionage world used this unit until his mysterious disappearance in 1957.


In 1943 a spearfisherman and French Naval Captain together with a French Engineer produced the “Aqua-Lung” the worlds first open circuit scuba unit. This double hose demand valve unit removed the previous depth restrictions of the early rebreathers. Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s Aqualung and inspirational Film and Television documentaries revolutionised scuba diving into the recreational sport for the mass market. In 1952 the design of this demand valve was further development by Ted Eldred in Australia into “Porpoise” a two stage single hose regulator to remove air supply restrictions, a design we still use today in scuba diving.