One Of The Oldest Diving Suits In Existence – Called Wanha Herra

The best-known item in Raahe Museum is “the Old Gentleman”, a diving suit from the early 18th century. This rarity was donated to the museum by Captain Leufstadius in 1860s.

The maker of the suit has mastered the latest achievements of the diving technology that made huge progress in the 18th century. The Old Gentleman is therefore regarded as a unique crossover form made from leather in the transition from the diving bell to the actual heavy diving suit.

The Old Gentleman is mostly made of cow leather. The seams are sewn with a waxed thread and sealed with pitch. The diving suit was made waterproof by sealing it with a mixture of pork fat, tar and pitch. The hood-shaped head is reinforced from the inside with a wooden framework. In the upper part of the hood is an opening for a wooden air pipe.

The diver wriggled himself into the diving suit through an opening in front of the body, which is closed by pressing the pitched mouth part together. This “sack mouth” was rolled on the belt and was attached to the diver’s waist. The air was pumped to the diver through wooden pipes that were mutually connected with leather, either using a piston pump or bellows. The air was discharged through a shorter pipe on the backside.

Diving lasted for a short time, since the suit was not completely watertight and could not withstand high pressure. However, the diving suit did offer its user the opportunity of checking the condition of hulls without having to tilt the vessels or to bring them into dry dock.

The diving suit is presumably of Finnish origin, since the top parts of the boots remind one of the traditional short-shanked boots with laces, while the gloves are similar to those typical of Finnish foresters. A drawing from 1727, discovered in the Admiralty’s material held in the Swedish National Archive, depicts a diving suit that is similar to the Old Gentleman. This drawing has helped to date the time at which the Old Gentleman was manufactured.

h/t: museum-of-artifacts






(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave Your Comment Below


If you want more awesome content, subscribe to 'Oh, Design You Trust,' our brand new Facebook page! Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

More Inspiring Stories

Iceland Road Painted To Stop Arctic Terns Being Killed
Explorer Visits Abandoned and World's Largest Ekranoplan, Here Are Some Great Pictures of The Inside and Outside
The Personalized Datsun: 1976 280-Z Brochure
Clever Minibikes Built Out of Welded Fenders From Vintage Volkswagen Beetles
Skeleton Key
Swiss Company Turns People’s Ashes into Diamonds
This Guy Came Up With A Plan To Turn Any Backyard Into A Beach
The 1955 GMC L’Universelle Dream Truck
Old Soviet Ships Transformed Into Yachts for Millionaires
Camera Van: The Art Car by Harrod Blank
The Real Star Wars Weapon!
Teaser: Nissan LEAF to Attempt Setting the Guinness World Speed Record
Origami Cave Puts a Stylish Spin on Emergency Shelter
Skylon: Space Plane
Alien-like Flowers Seen Under the Microscope
A Mobile Phone is Shown at a Luxury Goods Department Store in Hong Kong
Want to Join the Jet Set? Water-Powered Jetpack Propels Fliers up to 30ft into the Air... but it still Costs $230 a Go
Collar AG - A Wearable Device For Surveillance By XCEED
Diathermy in Beauty Culture From From the 1930s
Artist Dominic Wilcox Invents Glasses That Allow Short People To See The World From ‘Above’
A Couple Of Nerds Got 36 iMac Boxes And Made An iWheel
Riding Giant Mechanical Tricycles In 1896
Monster Crane Collapses at National Cathedral
Motorcycle Hybrid Designed As A Survival Bike That Can Travel 300 Miles Without Refueling
Hyundai Motor Pays Tribute to Original Grandeur Flagship Sedan with Heritage Series EV Resto-mod
Mercedes-Maybach Unveils The Super-Luxury Electric Car Of Tomorrow’s World
Surface by Microsoft
Concepts From Future Past: 1986 Italdesign Machimoto
The World's Largest Cruise Ships: A Look Inside
Before Seatbelts and Airbags: Terrible Photos of Car Accidents in the Early 20th Century