Diving Bell

This passage describes how divers used a "diving bell" to breathe underwater before scuba equipment was invented.

Lexile Level: 1000L

Categories: History Science & Technology


Long before the invention of modern scuba equipment, people used something called a diving bell to breath while performing underwater work and exploration. The diving bell takes its name from its shape. It is literally a large, bell-shaped vessel with an opening at the bottom. Large enough for a man to stand or sit in, it was lowered beneath the water on a cable or heavy rope. The occupant was able to breath the air trapped inside the diving bell. The earliest diving bells were probably used by sponge fishermen. They were also used to salvage cannons from shipwrecks. You can explore the principle behind the diving bell by submerging an empty can or jar in a bucket of water. If you hold the can level, the trapped air will remain inside. If you tilt it to the side, a large bubble of air will rise to the surface. Modern diving bells rely on fresh air pumped from the surface, rather than air trapped in the bell.


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