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  • Writer's pictureShaun Lewis

Watching Blue Planet?

The forthcoming new series of Blue Planet promises some spectacular photography and discoveries. One of the reasons this will be so is that the divers have made use of the latest diving equipment in the form of the ‘rebreather’. Instead of breathing pure oxygen and exhaling the carbon-dioxide into the water, the divers rebreathe their exhaled carbon-dioxide and top it up with fresh oxygen. This has two advantages. They can stay dived for up to four hours, giving them time for the fish to acclimatise to the presence of the divers, and there are no bubbles to frighten the fish.

However, as readers of my book, The Custom of the Trade, will discover, the rebreather was invented in 1878 by Henry Fleuss and perfected in 1910 by Sir Robert Davis, both of Sieme-Gorman. However, to be fair to the modern day manufacturers of today’s rebreathers, the early Sieme-Gorman sets only had an endurance of an hour.

In the same way that my style of clothes will come back in fashion once again, it seems that the inventions of our forebears can still take some beating over

Henry Fleuss - inventor of the first practical rebreather

a hundred years later.

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