The History of Scuba Gear

The History of Scuba Gear
A lot of equipment goes into making scuba diving possible. Starting with developments after World War II, scuba gear has made great strides in becoming more reliable, safer, and accessible to recreational users.

Cousteau and Gagnan

Famed French undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau and French-Canadian Emile Gagnan were the joint developers of the Aqualung in the late 1940s. This was the first working, recognizable scuba breathing machine.

What Was Aqualung?

Aqualung gear consisted of a bottle of highly pressurized air and a set of valves that adjust the pressure at which that air is released downward to that of the local water pressure. This is what makes breathing underwater possible.

Buoyancy Control

The first buoyancy control device (BCD) was put on the market by Scubapro in 1971. This device gave divers the ability to make small adjustments in buoyancy during the course of a dive as well as easily float on the surface.


Although nitrox gas mixtures were being experimented with as far back as the 1920s and 1930s, it was not until the 1970s when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began creating scientifically based, thoroughly researched procedures for their use.

Dive Computing

The first workable electronic dive computer, which took the guesswork out of decompression, was put on the market in 1983 by Orca Edge.


Like nitrox, there is a long history of experimenting with workable rebreathers dating to the 1920s. They did not become considered safe and achieve general acceptance until the 1990s.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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