deep sea diver’s suit equipped with a us navy mark v helmet, a belt, and shoes with ballast_brooklyn 1944_h.: 210 cm_provenance: private collection, usa_references: oceanographic museum of monaco (monte carlo), naval undersea museum(keyport, washington), vasa museum (stockholm)

The apparatus used by a deep sea diver is surely impressive, scenographic, and of great impact. At the same time it is also a sort of testimonial to the divers’ courage and bravery.
The divers were employed in the riskiest enterprises. In time of war, as with this example, this could involve not only the clearing of explosives and military objects of any kind which might be found in water ( just as a bomb disposal expert), but also in bringing assistance in the case of damaged submarines. The helmet proposed is one of the best and most desirable diving helmets in the world. The Mark V, was actually a true milestone in the history of diving, making it possible to reach greater and greater depths with full safety. It is unbelievable how the figure of the deep sea diver had been somehow antic-ipated by Jules Verne in one of the most significant and prescient science fiction novels, “Twenty thousands leagues under the sea”, which, published in 1870, told of the brilliant Captain Nemo’s deeds.
In the novel Verne described the submarine raids of the Nautilus, where the pas-sengers and the crew wore rather futuristic diving suits, particularly considering the time when the novel was written. According to Verne, the diving suits were sus-tained by compressed air, assisted by powerful electric torches and protected by small arms stoked with compressed air, which would shoot electric bullets. In this way the French writer led millions of readers to a fascination with the beauties andmysteries of the abyss.

LITERATURE: Tegani Ulderico, Viaggi nel mondo sommerso (Avventure di palombari),Mondadori 1931; Desmond Young, I veri eroi degli abissi marini, Longanesi 1968.



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