Diving, old Westminster Bridge, London, 1861.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate from Illustrated London News. The diving helmet was pioneered by the Deane brothers, John (1800-1884) and Charles (c1790-1848), who designed the 'open diving helmet', held in place with weights and supplied with air through a hose. Augustus Siebe (d 1872) improved on this in 1839 by designing the 'closed helmet', which was supplied with air from the presure pump, worked by the two men on the top right in this image, and had an opening for air to escape. The diving helmet and suit were beneficial to industries repairing structures such as bridges as they could operate in depths of up to 100 metres. Westminster Bridge was built in 1738-1750 by Charles Labelye.