1930-5 – “Tritonia” Diving Armour – Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

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Joseph Salim Peress with his "Tritonia" Diving Armour.

ModMechanix aug 1933 treasure 2 x640 1930 5   Tritonia Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

Extract from Wiki:

Joseph Salim Peress

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Joseph Salim Peress
Born 1896, Died June 4, 1978

In 1918 Peress began working for WG Tarrant at Byfleet, United Kingdom, where he was given the space and tools to develop his ideas about constructing an Armored Diving Suit. His first attempt was an immensely complex prototype machined from solid stainless steel.

In 1923 Peress was asked to design a suit for salvage work on the wreck of the P&O liner SS Egypt which had sunk in 122 m (400 ft) of water off Ushant. He declined, on the grounds that his prototype suit was too heavy for a diver to handle easily, but was encouraged by the request to begin work on a new suit using lighter materials. By 1929 he believed he had solved the weight problem, by using cast magnesium (also called 'electron' or 'elektron') instead of steel, and had also managed to improve the design of the suit's joints by using a trapped cushion of oil to keep the surfaces moving smoothly. The oil, which was virtually non-compressible and readily displaceable, allowed the limb joints to move freely at depths of 600 ft (180 m), where the pressure was 520 psi (35 atm). Peress claimed that the Tritonia suit's joints could function at 1,200 ft (370 m) although this was never proven.

In 1930 Peress revealed the Tritonia suit. By May it had completed trials and was publicly demonstrated in a tank at Byfleet. In September Peress' assistant Jim Jarrett dived in the suit to a depth of 123 m (404 ft) in Loch Ness. The suit performed perfectly, the joints proving resistant to pressure and moving freely even at depth.

The suit was offered to the Royal Navy which turned it down, stating that Navy divers never needed to descend below 90 m (300 ft).

Jim Jarrett made a deep dive to 305 m (1,001 ft) on the wreck of the RMS Lusitania off south Ireland, followed by a shallower dive to 60 metres (200 ft) in the English Channel in 1937 after which, due to lack of interest, the Tritonia suit was retired. Peress abandoned work on diving suits and instead turned to pioneering work in plastic moulding, later forming a company which became the world's largest manufacturer of gas turbine blades for the aircraft industry.

In 1965, Peress came back from retirement, starting his collaboration with two British engineers, Mike Humphrey and Mike Borrow, interested in designing a modern atmospheric diving suit. The first order of business was finding the original Tritonia suit, which turned up in a Glasgow warehouse. After all these years, the old suit was still in working condition, and the octogenarian Peress became the first person to test it in a factory test tank. In 1969 Peress became a consultant to UMEL (Underwater Marine Equipment Limited), the new company formed by Humphrey and Borrow, which eventually created the JIM suit, which was named after Peress' diver Jim Jarrett.

ps oct 37 1 Copy x640 1930 5   Tritonia Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

ps oct 37 2 Copy x640 1930 5   Tritonia Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

Tritonia Lusitania 1935 1 x640 1930 5   Tritonia Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

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Peress with his new diving armour.

Palombaro classico e tritonia 1935 confronto x640 1930 5   Tritonia Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

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Peress' earlier 1921 patent for "Flexible joint for diving dresses" was US1402645.
Peress improved upon his earlier joint design. He filed for a new patent:

Name: Hydraulic joint particularly suitable for diving dresses or apparatus

Publication number    US1947657 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Feb 20, 1934
Filing date    Aug 7, 1933
Priority date    Aug 16, 1932
Inventors    Salim Peress Joseph
Original Assignee    Argonant Corp Ltd

peress pat 1947657 1933 x640 1930 5   Tritonia Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

Preparing to Explore the Wreck of the Lusitania 1 x640 1930 5   Tritonia Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

Preparing to explore the wreck of the Lusitania.

Preparing to Explore the Wreck of the Lusitania 3 x640 1930 5   Tritonia Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

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Attempt to Recover


An attempt to recover treasure estimated at £10,000,000, which has been at the bottom of Navarino Bay, Messina, Greece, for more than 100 years, will be made in a few months, says the London "Daily Express."

The treasure is contained in the ships of the Turkish-Egyptian fleet, which were sunk in 1827 by the combined Russian, English, and French fleets. The flagship alone contained £200,000 in money, and a far greater sum in precious objects.


The treasure is 32 fathoms beneath the water, and hitherto all efforts to recover it have failed, because no diver could descend to such a depth and work on wrecks. Now there is in existence a diving suit in which, it is stated, a man can go down 250 fathoms and work for 10 hours without feeling any of the ordinary effects of diving, and this suit will be used in the venture off the coast of Greece.

This new diving apparatus is the invention of Mr. Joseph Salim Peress, of Byfleet, Surrey, England. Mr. Peress is of Persian origin, and when he began work on his invention 10 years ago he had in mind the possibility of using the diving suit for recovering pearls from the virgin beds in the deeper waters off the Persian Gulf.

He prepared with this end in view a suit which would descend to 100 fathoms, but by experiment he claims that he found that, with slight alterations, the apparatus could be used for diving to a depth of 250 fathoms, and with adjustments, even to 500 fathoms.

The possibilities of such a suit are many. Wrecks which up to now have been inaccessible to divers can be examined and their bullion recovered. The amount of this bullion may be guessed by a brief survey of a few of the wrecks which are believed to be sunk in 500 fathoms or less.

There are the Persia and Arabia, submarined in the Mediterranean during the war with more than £1,000,000 in gold in them.

There are the Spanish galleons, which, bullion laden, were sunk in Vigo Bay. The Lusitania was said to have sunk with gold and jewellery valued at £1,200,000. The Merlida carried to the bottom of the sea more than £250,000 in silver and £20,000 in jewellery.

The remarkable diving suit which Mr Peress has constructed in his workshop at Byfleet resembles nothing quite so much as a robot figure. It is made of a light alloy, containing a large percentage of magnesium, and has arms and legs three feet long.

The diver inside can eat, drink, smoke, write, and move with perfect freedom.  He can kneel, lie on his back or face downwards, and rise without the slightest difficulty. The "hands" of the suit are like the larger antennae of a crab, and by their means the diver can pick up tin washers or coins and shackle an eye to a spring.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 December 1930

Peress The Lincoln Star Jul 10 1938 x640 1930 5   Tritonia Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British) Peress El Paso Herald Post Aug 9 1935 x640 1930 5   Tritonia Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British) Peress El Paso Herald Post Oct 12 1935 x640 1930 5   Tritonia Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

Pneumonia Feared More Than Anything Under Water-Strongest Lights Are Dim at Bottom of Ocean.
ABOARD SALVAGE SHIP ORPHIR, Aug. 13.—Imminent adventure for the Orphir's divers was indicated today as we left Kinsale to renew our search for the huge hulk that Captain Russell is convinced is the Lusitania.
As soon as the salvage ship, its preparations completed, left port in the early dawn, Chief Diver Jim Jarrett busied himself with an inspection of his mighty steel robot. He was evidently preparing the weird looking machine for instant action as the Orphir again locates the buoy it has placed in the open sea and delves beneath them to grapple with the mysterious wreck,
Jarrett, who may soon be swung from the boom of the Orphir into the salty depths to identify the silent giant at the bottom, grinned as he worked, To all outward appearance, he was the happiest man on board.
From talking to Jarrett one would gain the impression a descent in the 3,360-pound electron suit is no more exciting than a walk downstairs. I asked him about the dangers he would face in his iron man when he was 270 feet below the surface.
He smiled and said, "If I worried about the danger I might as well give up diving."
He explained that the stout metal shell would spare him many perils which formerly confronted the diver in the rubber suit. There will certainly be no risk of "bends," the fatal cramps caused by being taken from one pressure to another without proper time elapsing for the blood stream to adapt itself to the now pressure. In his metal armor this very real jeopardy is overcome.
Neither need he fear the "squeeze," which in landsman's parlance means a breakdown of the air pressure against the hundreds of tons of water pressure which surround the diver. A leak in the suit would mean certain death. and rubber suits were sometimes torn. It is almost impossible to fracture this electron suit.
Jarrett laughed when I asked him if he had any fear of sharks, octopi, or other denizens of the deep.
He calmly explained that pneumonia was far more to be dreaded than the marine life below. The sea bitter cold sixty fathoms down, and is never more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. As the diver is brought to the warm surface he runs the chance of taking a severe chill for he will be almost numb from the cold. While below he warms his hands on his respirator, which gains heat from its chemical action.
Darkness is a common danger.
Though powerful lamps will be lowered to aid the diver's restricted vision at great depths, the strongest light may cast but a dim beam. Often the lamps burst from the enormous pressure, or burn out their insulation because of the high voltage required to operate them.
Jarrett hopes that the bottom upon which the Lusitania lies will be rock or gravel rather than mud. A mud bottom would be easily stirred by currents or blasting. and he would be confronted with the same dazzle effect which faces a motorist who drives through a dense fog with the headlights on.
Even under the best of conditions he suffers the risk of ugly bruises, possibly a broken nose. As he swings about, owing to the movement of the ship or to the current, his body will come constantly in contact with hard metal surfaces.
With hundreds of feet of cable attached to him he cannot crawl, climb, stoop or lie down. If by ill chance he should be dropped into a dangerous spot, only the best of luck will extricate him.
I questioned Jarrett about what might happen if we blasted the Lusitania, especially if it should turn out to carry munitions. The salvage ship Artiglio, engaged in removing the hulk of the munitions ship Florence, in the harbor of Saint Nazaire in 1930, was drawn to the bottom with all but seven hands aboard as it blasted the wreck.
Jarrett merely shrugged his shoulders and remarked that in such a case we all took an equal chance of being blown up.
The answers are typical of the man's temperament. Calm and stolid, he has the confidence of all aboard the Orphir, and we feel that if anyone can make the sea yield the mystery of the submerged Cunarder, Jarrett is that man.
Source: The Kansas City Star, Aug 13, 1935.

New Attempt to Raise Torpedoed Liner Set for Next Month
London —(UP)— Salvage operations in the former Cunard liner Lusitania, which was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine in 1915, with a loss of 1,198 lives, are expected to begin soon. It is planned to break the ship under water by explosives. Two obstacles hitherto have prevented the salvage of the Lusitania, which, in addition to its value as scrap metal, is believed to contain valuable jewelry. The first was ignorance of the position of the hull,  and the second the lack of suitable diving equipment. The liner is believed to have been located by echo-sounder apparatus by Capt. Henry B. Russell, of Glasgow, in command of an expedition in the 459-ton Ophir in October, 1935, at a point 11.2 miles from Kingsale Head, Ireland. The sounder recorded an object 780 feet long and 84 feet in height. These were the dimensions of the Lusitania.
Subsequently, a diver, James Jarrett, descended to the vessel and stood on the deck, but was compelled by rough weather to return to the surface before he made extensive explorations.
At Depth of 300 Feet
The giant liner lies in more than 300 feet of water, while the ordinary diving-dress is limited to a maximum depth of 180 feet. This obstacle has been overcome by the invention by J. A. Peress of an all-metal diving suit capable, it is said, of working at a depth of over 1,300 feet. This suit has been tested in Loch Ness at depths of 400 feet, and in a pressure tank at a pressure of 600 pounds per square inch, which corresponds to a depth of 1,320 feet, according to Peress.
With it the Argonaut corporation, which is the salvage firm concerned, plans the salvage of six other vessels, and the undertaking of sponge, pearl and shell (mother-of-pearl) fishing. The world's shallow-water pearl and sponge beds are in many localities approaching exhaustion, and the new diving suit is said to have opened the possibility of exploiting deep-lying beds.
The new diving suit represents a different method in that employed by the Italian salvage ship Artiglio, which has recovered some $4,000,000 in bar gold from the liner Egypt. Peress has worked on the suit since 1913, and began about 1929 to achieve success.
Pressure Restricts Mobilty
The problem was to articulate the arms and legs of the suit while preserving water-tightness and freedom of movement. Ordinary jointing is made immobile from friction under the enormous pressure of water. American inventors constructed a ball-bearing joint, which still suffered from great stiffness.
Peress found some success with a  joint embodying oil-filled rubber balls, but after an hour's use these balls would break up. Finally he based his design on the human joint, employing a "synovium" containing oil. It is said that the limb is so freely suspended that it is swayed by the tide, and that the claw operates so delicately that single coins can be picked up and ropes can be reeved with it. The suit contains its own supply of oxygen sufficient for 9 or 10 hours, and is in telephonic communication with the salvage ship. Thus, it is hoped, the diver will be able to penetrate any part of a sunken vessel, place charges, and remove portable objects. The method employed by the Artiglio is the lowering of divers in a shell containing windows—and, in one case, "arms" and "legs?' From this they direct, by telephone, the lowering of a grab, or a suction mechanism, and signal when the jaws are to be closed.
Source: The Terril Record, Apr 8, 1937.

See Peress' earlier suit here.

Peress was consultant for the later JIM suit, which included further joint development and patents.

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1921-5 – Diving Armour – Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

Peress dive suit 1925 x640 1921 5   Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

1921-5 – Diving Armor by Joseph Salim Peress.

The Warren Tribune Mon  Dec 14  1925  Copy x640 1921 5   Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

3171782 november 1925 mr peress explaining the gettyim 002 x640 1921 5   Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

Peress explaining his new armored diving suit at the Shipping Exhibition, at Olympia, London, England. It was manufactured in stainless steel by Staybrite Silver in England. Source: Getty Images

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Joseph Salim Peress with his new armoured diving suit.  Source: Getty Images

Peress 1925 suit x640 1921 5   Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

In 1921, Joseph Salim Peress filed for patent the first spherical type joint, which used a fluid to transfer the pressure. He built his first diving armour suit in 1925, which unfortunately did not work.

peress Springfield Missouri Republican Dec 18 1925 x640 1921 5   Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

Source: Springfield Missouri Republican, Dec 18, 1925.

Steel Diving Suit Invented By Briton – By International News Service
London – A new diving-suit which, it is claimed, will be vastly superior to the now famous German suit [Neufeldt and Kuhnke] which was used in connection with the locating of the lost British submarine M. 1, has been invented by J. S. Peress, a young English engineer.
The new suit, which is made of rustless steel and is similar in appearance to the grotesque German suit, is composed of fifty pieces, and weighs 550 pounds. It is claimed that the suit has been tested with safety to work at the great depth of 650 feet, which is approximately 300 feet deeper than the present world's diving record.
The secret of Peress' suit is said to lie in the superiority of its joints. The joints of other diving suits are made unworkable at great depths by the pressure of the sea, but the joints of the Peress suit are made of frictionless metal, and are constructed on a patent floating joint principle, which renders them practically unaffected by pressure.
Unlike the German model, Peress' invention is not fitted with oxygen cylinders, although these can be fitted if necessary. The air is pumped down in the ordinary way through an armored pipe, which also carried electric and telephone wires.
The suit is fitted with delicately constructed mechanical hands, which can be changed for powerful tools should the diver be dealing with a wreck. Peress' invention is the culmination of five years research work.

peress pat us1402645 1 x640 1921 5   Diving Armour   Joseph Salim Peress (Persian / British)

Flexible joint for diving dresses

Publication number    US1402645 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Jan 3, 1922
Filing date    Apr 30, 1921
Priority date    Apr 30, 1921
Inventors   Joseph Salim Peress
Original Assignee    Joseph Salim Peress

See Peress' "Tritonia" suit here (not yet published).

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1918 – Diving Armor – Rudi De Graff (Russian / American)

degraff diving suit 1918 pat x640 1918   Diving Armor   Rudi De Graff (Russian / American)

1918 – Diving Armor by Rudi De Graff.

degraff pat 1918 russian x640 1918   Diving Armor   Rudi De Graff (Russian / American)

Publication number    US1368786 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Feb 15, 1921
Filing date    Jan 12, 1918
Priority date    Jan 12, 1918
Inventors    Rudi De Graff

The invention relates to diving suits designed for service at great depths, one hundred feet or more, and the object of the invention is to provide a metallic suit or armor capable of withstanding successfully the great pressure due to deep submersion, and also permit free movements of the body and limbs of the diver.

Another object is to provide means for supplying air at atmospheric pressure to the interior of the suit, and for removing the vitiated air therefrom through non-collapsible separate conduits.

Another important object is to provide means for insuring the flexible joints of the suit independently against the entrance of water while permitting such joints to move freely.

A further object is to provide a form of universal joint for certain articulations of the suit, to permit movement in all directions while held water-tight by the pressure of the water.

A further object is to provide a form of joint having folding leaves for certain other articulations, constructed to allow free movements of the limbs without cramping.

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1917 – Diving Armor – James F. Long (American)

long armor 1917 pat x640 1917   Diving Armor   James F. Long (American)

1917 – Diving Armor by James F. Long.

long armor 1917 pat 2 x640 1917   Diving Armor   James F. Long (American)

Diving Armor

Publication number    US1305656 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Jun 3, 1919
Filing date    Jan 12, 1917
Inventors    James F. Long

This invention relates to diving armor, and has for one of its objects to provide a device of this character especially adapted to protect the occupant from abnormal pressure when submerged in deep water, and to enable submarine operations and observations to be conducted at unusual depths.

Another object of the invention is to provide a device of this character having appliances whereby the operator may move about, and with shields or guards for the arms and hands to enable the latter to be moved so that the operator can perform tasks of various kinds while submerged.

Another object of the invention is to provide a device of this character wherein air supplied to the occupant of the device from the outside, or under ordinary atmospheric pressure.

Another object of the invention is to provide a device of this character having a tank for oxygen or the like under pressure and with means whereby the occupant of the device can release a sufficient quantity of the oxygen in event of the cutting off of the supply of air from above.

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1880 – Armored Diving Suit – Stephen P. M. Tasker (American)

tasker suit pat 1 1880   Armored Diving Suit   Stephen P. M. Tasker (American)

1880 – Armored Diving Suit by Stephen P. M. Tasker. An interesting pose for a patent drawing. Anyone wanting a Mechanical Man costume would be inspired by this.

tasker suit pat 2 1880   Armored Diving Suit   Stephen P. M. Tasker (American)

Diving Apparatus

Publication number    US236858 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Jan 18, 1881
Filing date    Jun 21, 1880
Inventors    Stephen P. M. Tasker

Heretofore in diving apparatus shaped to the human body it has been difficult to combine with the requisite flexibility of material a rigidity or stiffness sufficient to resist at every portion of the armor the external pressure of the water without re-enforcing or aiding the material of which the apparatus is composed by pumping within it a supply of atmospheric air not only sufficient to ensure life to the diver, but also sufficient to counteract, balance, and resist the external pressure of the water.

The object of my invention is the construction of such an armor, suit, or apparatus as shall overcome this difficulty, and be of itself of sufficient strength to resist at its every portion the external pressures without re-enforcement by an over-supply of internal air, and shall at the same time be of sufficient flexibility to permit the requisite movements of the diver.

It further has for its object a better construction of the armor-lifting devices, whereby the strains in lowering and lifting the apparatus out of the water are not, as heretofore, confined to one portion of the armor, but are distributed more equally over it, so as to act not only upon the head and trunk portions, but also upon the legs, and thereby take from off the joints the strains heretofore imposed upon them in the elevation and lowering of the apparatus.

It further has for its object such an arrangement of the air inlet and exhaust tubes as concentrates them into one and prevents the complexity and entanglement incident to the old arrangements and, further, such a construction of the suit as enables it to be easily put on and taken off; and, finally, such an arrangement of the air-tubes that by the application of suitable floats they are kept continuously elevated and out of the way of the diver.

Tasker soon followed up with another patent, essentially the same but without the metal sections.

Publication number    US237141 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Feb 1, 1881
Filing date    Nov 13, 1880
Inventors    Stephen P. M. Tasker

My invention relates to that class of submarine diving suits or armors which are conformed to the shape of the human body and composed of unjointed sections connected together by flexible joints corresponding to the joints of the body, the unjointed sections being rigid and the joints composed of flat rings covered by flexible material, arranged in bellows structure and united to the contiguous rigid sections.

A diving-armor of the character above referred to was first invented by me, and forms the subject-matter of an application for patent which was executed by me on the 15th day of June, 1880, and filed in the United States Patent Office on the 21st day of June, 1880.

In my former invention the flexible material which formed the bellows portions of the armor extended over the unjointed metallic sections, so as to be practically continuous over the entire suit.

My present invention accords in structure and arrangement of joints with my former invention and it consists in a diving suit or armor conformed to the shape of the human body and composed of unjointed sections of hardened rubber or kindred material and of connecting bellows-joints of pliable rubber or kindred material, the metal sections of my former invention being dispensed with.

See other early Underwater Robots here.