'Saving Life by means of Rouquayrol's Apparatus', 1869.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
In 1860 a French mining engineer, Benoit Rouquayrol (1826-1875), invented a self-contained breathing apparatus which could be used to rescue miners overcome by fumes. With the help of Auguste Denayrouze (1837-1883), the equipment was modified for underwater use by the French Navy. This was the first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA). Illustration from 'Underground life, or, Mines and miners' by Louis Simonin (1830-1886), published in London in 1869.