Development of Scuba Gear

Development of Scuba Gear
"Scuba" is short for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. This equipment allows divers to carry an air supply with them and not be connected to the surface. About 350 B.C., Aristotle wrote of people using a kettle to take air down to sponge divers so they could harvest more. Alexander the Great used a sort of diving bell about 330 B.C.

Early Diving

By about 100 A.D., divers were using a reed like a snorkel to remain underwater for longer periods of time. Beginning in 1300 A.D., people in many regions began developing some sort of diving bell. Leonardo da Vinci created drawings of a scuba device but never built it.

Early Scuba

In the 1700s, Frenchman Sieur Fremineta developed a diving bell fitted with a type of re-breathing device. In 1865, Benoit Rouquayrol and Auguste Denayrouse patented a type of scuba gear similar to modern equipment.

World War II

The development of modern scuba equipment began during World War II. The Italians developed a type of scuba device and used it to place explosives on British ships. Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan made the Aqua-Lung in 1943.

Widespread Use

Scuba gear became available to the public in 1951, and a new sport was born.


Modern developments include the on-demand regulator, improved dive masks, improved wet and dry suits, better tanks, and gauges to monitor depth and air reserves. Small computers have been developed to evaluate all aspects of a dive, including the surface time required between dives.

Article Written By Les Belzer

Les Belzer has been a professor, entrepreneur, farm owner and writer since 1968. He has written in-house articles on education, mathematics and Spanish literature. Since 1999 he has written travel articles for Escapeartist and "International Living." Belzer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish literature from Idaho State University and a Master of Science in math from the Universidad Mayor de San Simon.

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