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Technical card

Denomination: Diving device called Diving suit.
Author: Carmagnolle’s brothers (Alphonse and Theodore)
Medium: Steel, glass, rubber, canvas, lead, mastic,?
Date of conception: from 1878
Date of patent deposit: 1882
Place of manufacture: Marseille
Weight :380 Kg


In this end of XIX th century, the diving devices are already used fluently in France. The divers have the choice between the material proposed by M. Siebe and especially the one of M. Cabirol, less costly and of simpler manufacture. However that may be, all these devices are quite to the point since 1855 and are going to invade the French harbours and the prestigious vessels of the Imperial marine of Napoléon the third gradually.

But like every invention, the helmet diving suit has its limits and here, it is the depth. Indeed, beyond 60 m, the classic diving suit is impassable… Of this idea will be born at the end of the XIX th century a few ambitious projects to repulse the limits of the submarine exploration. France won't be in rest and these are two brothers from Marseille that will produce the most extraordinary diving suit of all times…


Patent of invention without guarantee of the government n°132761
The minister of the trade,
Seen the law of July 5, 1844;

Seen the suit verbal writen December 20, 1882, at 2 o'clock 21 minutes, to the general Secretariat of the prefecture of the department of the Seine and noting the deposit by the Sr Carmagnolles of a demand of patent of invention of fifteen years, for a new diving device called Diving suit of the brothers Carmagnolle… / /…

Descriptive memory deposited in support of the demand of a patent of invention of fifteen years formed by MESSRS Alphonse and Theodore Carmagnolle for diver's new device says diving suit of the brothers Carmagnolle.

"The invention that is the subject of the present demand of patent is relative to important perfections that we brought to the diving devices.

Numerous tentatives have been made in the goal to allow the divers to descend and not to work under waters to big deep.those various trials produced, until this day no convenient result This difficulty appears materially insurmountable and consists to move without effort under the enormous pressure of the deep waters, to use its members usefully and especially of its hands, to back in an absolute manner out of the multiple dangers of the big funds coins sailors and finally to live and to work in these depths of a way to few meadows normal.

it is not sufficient, to solve this important problem to combine, for example, an armored device, resistant to the pressure of water and sheltering by the diver of the outside pressure, this thus donned diver won't be submitted more directly to the weight of water, he will be able to live, to breathe, to see to the outside, but again it is necessary that he can walk, to move, to work without too many efforts and that finally this breastplate remains, in spite of the weight of water, mobile, manageable, flexible, and it is the the real problem to solve and that we absolutely solved by the disposition of our joints and the joints of our device as well as we are going to describe it… "etc…

Destination of the device

The other inventors and scientific of the time had seized all the importance and in part the consequences of the effects of the pressure on the organism. The goal of all their contraptions is then to protect the man of this implacable strength.

It appeared quickly that the only manner to protect the diver would be to cover it with a sort of protective armor or water would not penetrate.we finds in germ in the metallic dress of Lafayette in 1875 some ideas taken some years later by the Carmagnolle brothers. It is necessary to see in this diving suit a deep tentative" therefore well ". has how Emile Condroyer evokes the device in 1948: "The brothers Carmagnolle appeared to take their inspiration in some museum of medieval armors ", "The helmet of this iron monster presented in plan of visors twenty small portholes juxtaposed in vitreous pock. ", "Too heavy, too inconvenient to displace, this diving suit dove definitely in a room of museum "… if it is true that the volunteers would be probably rare to dive in this infernal machine today (not so sure), we had to retail the work of these two brilliant inventors further…

Survey of the device

1)the helmet

The helmet is constituted of a metallic sphere reinforced by two median crests of reinforcement. The occipital part comes to add itself on the rear, solidly welded. The arrival of air has been arranged to this place according to all logic. One notices on this arrival a buckle of which one can imagine that it corresponded thus to an equivalent buckle on the arrival of the constituent hose a sort of security assured by a ligature or a chain.

The diver's vision was facilitated by the multiplication of the portholes. Twenty small portholes took place on the whole face of the helmet permitting a widened vision field. They are in very thick glass, maintained in broken in conical pipes and garnished to the mastic of minium. Anyone ever dove in hard had suit will understand what hell it could be for those that tried this device provided that they survived the 380 steel Kg without succumbing to the weariness. incredible Luxury: the right lower porthole is unscruable to allow the" prisoner to quench and to breathe appropriately to few meadows in surface because whoever studied the diving suit of meadows knows that it would be necessary at least ten real minutes to unfasten the sphere. This option of multiplication of "glasses" was probably justified to the eyes of the inventors because they imagined that the diving suit would be submitted to exceptional constraints. The thickness of every portholes being of about 14 mm. While multiplying the surfaces and while reducing their size, the risks of cracks due to the pressure were reduced. It is good at this level to observe the precision and the extraordinary quality of the finishes and the construction.

The helmet is bolted to the tippet in two points behind the nape and a point on the front.

2)Péllerine and front:

It is constituted by the two halves of the containing bust each an arm. These two halves are bolted one solidly to the other by two bolts on the plexus and two bolts in the back. The tightness is assured by an important joined making projected strongly.

Continue to part 2 of the Carmagnolle story