Diving for the wreck of the 'Eurydice', 1878.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from the 'Illustrated London News'. The 'Eurydice' was a ship for training young seamen, which capsized and sank off the coast of the Isle of Wight in March 1879, drowning the 368 sailors on board. 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 and had an opening for air to escape. The lamp may be an early version of the acetate generators used towards the end of the century.