04 Dec Invention of the diving regulator
In 1942-1943, French naval officer Jacques-Yves Cousteau and engineer Emile Gagnan, an expert in liquefied gas control valves, worked together to solve the problem of air being continuously exhausted from diver Le Pieur’s equipment by delivering it at a constant ambient pressure at different depths through a regulator derived from a gas stove valve.
Cousteau and Gagnan connected the regulator to a pair of compressed air tanks, testing it in the Marne river outside Paris in January 1943. After modifying the equipment by placing the regulator and exhaust at the same level, they patented it with the name Aqua-lung. During the summer of 1943, Cousteau and two friends, Frederic Dumas and Philippe Tailliez, performed over 500 dives with the aqualung, gradually increasing the depth by making minor adjustments. In October, in a carefully planned dive Dumas descended over 60 meters in the Mediterranean Sea and experienced the intoxication of deep dives. Cousteau’s aqualung was launched in France in 1946, in England in 1950, in Canada in 1951, followed by the United States in 1952.