Sir Francis Bacon designs a diving bell
Last updated: February 26, 2017 at 17:16 pm
[ 1620 ] Lord Francis Bacon describes a diving bell made of metal in Novum Organum Scientiarum (new instrument of science). It is used to recover items from submerged vessels. Bacon is known as the father of the scientific method.
Excerpt from Novum Organum Scientiarum, originally written in Latin and published in 1620: “If the situation requires bodies to be submerged in a depth of water, a river perhaps or the sea, but not to have contact with the water, and not to be shut up in sealed vessels but to be just surrounded by air, very useful is the vessel which is sometimes used to work under the water on sunken ships, which enables divers to stay under water longer and to take breaths in turn from time to time. It was like this. A concave metal barrel [bell] was constructed, and was let down evenly into the water, its mouth parallel to the surface; in this way it carried all the air it contained with it to the bottom of the sea. It stood on three feet (like a tripod) which were a little shorter than a man, so that when a diver ran out of breath, he could put his head into the hollow of the jar, take a breath, and then continue with his work. We have heard that a device has just been invented like a small ship or boat, which can carry men under water for a certain distance. Under the kind of jar we mentioned above, certain bodies could easily be suspended; that is why we adduced this experiment.”
Novum Organum Scientiarum (1620)
Researched by Diving Almanac & Book of Records official
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Jeffrey Gallant is the Editor-in-Chief and Records Keeper of the Diving Almanac. He is also a contributing editor of DIVER Magazine, and the scientific director of the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group (GEERG). Jeffrey started diving in 1982.