Posts Tagged ‘1878’

1878 – Diving Suit – Carmagnolle Bros. (French)


1878 – Diving Suit by the Carmagnolle Bros.

The suit was the first truly anthropomorphic suit design to be constructed.

A distinctive feature of the Carmagnolle suit was the helmet. It had 25 individual two-inch diameter glass viewing ports spaced at the average distance of the human eyes. An additional port at the top of the helmet could be removed to ventilate the suit when at the surface. The Carmagnolle suit is on display at the National Maritime Museum in Paris.

Jacques Cousteau With Old Diving Suit

Jaques Cousteau posing with a Carmagnolle Bros. Diving Suit.


Rear view.



Two French inventors, brothers Alphonse and Theodore Carmagnolle of Marseilles, France, were granted a patent for an armored diving dress in 1882 (Filed 1878). The joints were made of partial sections of concentric spheres formed to create a close fit and intended to be kept watertight with a loop of waterproof cloth attached to both sections of the joint and folded so as to slide upon itself when the joint was moved. The suit had no less than 22 of these rolling convolute joints; four in each leg, six per arm, and two in the body of the suit.

Inventors: Alphonse and Theodore Carmagnolle

Patent FR132761
Filed: 1878.
Granted: December 20, 1882

(Note: Cyberneticzoo – I have been unsucessful in locating this patent. However I did locate a later patent to Alphonse.)


Inventor: Alphonse Carmagnolle

Patent FR339030

Filed: September 10, 1904
Granted: October 18, 1904







The Carmagnolle Suit inspired "Big Daddy" from the game Bioshock.


A sculpture of "Big Daddy".

For a more complete story on Phillips, see here.

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1878 – Toy Mechanical Horse – Andrew J. Davis (American)

Patent number: 209468
Filing date: Jul 26, 1878
Issue date: Oct 29, 1878
see pdf here.

Although a patent for a toy, the walking mechanism is what's important here. On the whole, I have found that toys, particularly those that actually made it into production, show proof of concept in most cases, and that future builders can learn from successful, albeit old designs. 

Tags: , , , , ,