The history of scuba diving is very interesting. Many civilizations throughout time have engaged in breath-hold diving, also known as free-diving. The evidence of early free-diving is the finding of sea items found on land and ancient pictures of divers. These civilizations used free-diving to spearfish and also in competitions. The Ancient Greeks are known free-divers. They used free-diving to hunt for sponges and also in their military.
Some of the early attempts in the history of scuba diving to dive with the use of air include snorkeling with hollow reeds, using air-filled bags and diving bells. Diving bells are watertight chambers on cables. The diving bell is designed to remain full of air as it is pushed under water, allowing a few divers to be transported. These methods were not very efficient, however, and did not nearly resemble scuba diving as we know it today. The reeds did not allow divers to go deep into the water and air-filled bags soon filled with carbon-monoxide as the air was exhaled. Diving bells did not allow the divers much mobility.
The first diving suits were used in France and England. They were made of leather and air was pumped into them from the surface with manual pumps. Once the discovery was made to use metal to make helmets, these suits were able to stand greater pressure. With air manually pumped into these helmets, divers were able to enter deeper into the ocean and the history of scuba diving was furthered.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that the research was done to invent modern scuba diving as we know it today. Paul Bert from France and John Scott Haldane from Scotland, conducted scientific research on water pressure and our bodies limits regarding safe compressed air diving. At the same time, new technologies allowed for the development of air pumps, scuba regulators and other equipment. Scuba diving and its history were becoming more known.
Throughout the 20th century, inventions in scuba equipment improved. Swim fins, masks and other scuba gear became available. In the 1950’s the public began to take interest in scuba diving. Scuba gear shops began to open up and the first wet suit was introduced. Popular movies about diving and ships, including Titanic in 1997, continue to interest new divers and inspire veterans of the history-filled and adventurous sport of scuba diving.