There are two types of chamber both of similar construction and design but with differing uses. They are:
Recompression chamber; This type of chamber is used for medical purposes. Should a diver come up too quickly or miss a decompression stop or stage stop the diver should be returned to the depth from which he came. Then he can ascend to the surface using the appropriate decompression tables. Whilst an effective solution and one which was used in the earlier part of diving history a safer and more easily controlled method than 'in water recompression' was the use of a recompression chamber. Upon surfacing and showing signs of decompression illness the diver would be placed in a steel pressure tank and pressurized or recompressed to a pressure equivalent to the depth he was working . Using specially developed tables or decompression tables the pressure could be gradually reduced and the symptoms of decompression illness alleviated. Sadly this treatment did not always work. Divers to day are still treated in similar ways and during decompression breath an enriched mixture of air or pure oxygen.

A Siebe Gorman Recompression Chamber designed by Sir Robert H Davis around 1930.

As well as the static type chambers as above, portable chambers were developed which could be easily transported to remote locations or places such as ships.
Pioneers in the development of these chambers were The Draeger Factory in Germany who developed several such portable and lightweight devices.
One such device was the collapsible or telescopic chamber as illustrated below.

In the collapsible recompression chamber there is an oxygen inhalation mask g and a diver's mattress h.
There is a viewing port on the top of the chamber to view the casualty.
The lid of the chamber is fastened by a clamping device which fastens the lid to the body of the chamber.
The chamber is seen here in its constructed state. The bars l hold the chamber in a rigid state.
There is a pressure gauge or manometer m whilst n provides for an air inlet connection and connection r is to connect a pump if required.
Photo courtesy of Warren Hastings taken at the Diving Diseases Research Centre Plymouth.

This Draeger recompression chamber is not telescopic but moveable as it is fitted with wheels.

This portable chamber has air or oxygen cylinders fitted below the chamber.
On the top of the chamber there are two observation ports enabling the medic to monitor the progress of the patient.

The lid of the chamber is sealed with a 1/4 turn. the makers plate gives the serial number and the date of manufacture 1963.

Photos by Diving Heritage

Please email a photo and a description to

Copyright by Diving Heritage 2008