Early helmet for closed diving dres, 1839.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This diving helmet is part of a suit manufactured by the engineer Augustus Siebe (1788-1872) in 1837 and patented by him in 1839. The complete dres was watertight, representing an improvement on the earlier 'open dres' and was supplied with air from a presure pump. The Siebe prototype became the model for all following diving helmets and, together with the suit, was of huge benefit to industries carrying out repairs on maritime structures. It could operate in depths of up to 100 metres.