Posts Tagged ‘1917’

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


1917 – Diving Armor by James F. Long.


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.

1917 – Diving Armor Suit – Benjamin Franklin Leavitt (American)


The 1917 version of the Leavitt deep-sea suit.



Publication number    US1327679 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Jan 13, 1920
Filing date    Jan 15, 1917
Priority date    Jan 15, 1917
Inventors    Leavitt Benjamin F
Original Assignee    Leavitt Diving Armor Company

The invention relates to improvements in diving apparatus and its object is to provide a diving armor designed to permit a diver to descend to depths where the hydrostatic pressure is comparatively great, and which will allow sufficient use and freedom of motion of the limbs, hands and feet to permit working at such depths.

Other objects are to facilitate the assembling and taking apart of the sections comprising the armor; to efficiently protect the electrical connections; to render the supporting cable and electrical connections quick-detachable from the armor; and to provide a safe air supply system that will eliminate hose connections to the surface.



The object to the left of the image is Leavitt's other invention, the deep-sea electric lamp. See US patent number US1611651.

Popular Scienceaug1922-leavitt-2-x640

Multiple Leavitt suits being manufactured.

Source: Popular Science, August 1922.


A frontal view of the Leavitt all-metal deep water diving suit. The only connection with the surface is a special steel cable by which the diver is lowered and raised. This cable has in its core a telephone circuit which permits the diver to maintain vocal communications with person on the salvage craft. This particular suit is equipped with heavy rubbers gloves which could be used up to 150 feet. At greater depths the suit would be fitted with pincers or tongs operated from within sleeves of the armor.
Source: here.

The_Bridgeport_Telegram_May_23_1922_ Leavitt-x640






Diving Armor Suit used in salvaging the Pewabic..

Image and text source: The Sun and The New York Herald,  May 9, 1920.

Only Woman Salvager Regains Riches From Lakes and Sea.

Mrs. Margaret Campbell Goodman

Always a Dreamer
"I was always a dreamer," she says, "and I can hardly remember when I first began to dream that there was a fortune in deep sea salvage. The reality came when I became interested in a suit of diving armor. I was one of twenty-six who saw experiments with it, where the inventor demonstrated in Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan. Its possibilities by descending 361 feet and remaining under water forty-five minutes.
"This first deep sea suit had no strut rods. A commercial tube was used that was covered with diving suit cloth and the armored diver was raised and lowered by a manila rope. The armor had a helmet, equipped so the diver was in constant communication with the ship above him, but in this first successful descent the telephone was not detachable and the telephone line was a separate cable. The safety valve was at the bottom of the caustic soda cartridge. Air was not pumped down to the diver, but furnished from a tank and sent in a continuous current after being breathed through the soda cartridge and thus cleansed of carbonic gas. The diver could remain down for the life of this soda cartridge, about an hour.
"The improved armor has strut rods and a special interlocked, tapered, very flexible tube made of copper braided with wire covered with pure gum rubber. The raising cable is of steel with the telephone in the centre, and is connected directly to the helmet. The phone bracket is screwed into the helmet and is detachable. The glasses are one-half-inch smaller than in the first model and the frontal light is tipped to an angle of 30 degrees. The armor is fastened together at the breast and shoulders with bayonet lock and the arm tubes are detachable from the shoulders." ….

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1917 – Submarine Armor – Charles H. Jackson (American)

psfeb23-jackson-1 -x640

Submarine Armor invented by Charles H. Jackson achieved a depth of 360 feet in December 1919 with Frank Turner as the diver.







Deep Sea Suits and Diving Records       Source: Scientific American (January 1920)
There appears to be no little rivalry of late in the matter of diving suits and deep sea diving records. And why not? Five years, more or less, of intense warfare directed against merchant shipping has paved the bottom of the sea with many valuable cargoes which await the deep sea diver. Recently John T. Turner of Philadelphia, Pa., a diver of international repute, went down 360 feet and reached the bed of the ocean 15 miles east of Graves Light, near Boston, Mas. For this test he wore a diving suit invented by a colored mechanic, Charles H. Jackson, who is shown standing to the left of the diver, in the accompanying photograph. While this feat was proclaimed a world's record, a glance through our records discloses the interesting fact that it is still one foot less than a previous record. In a demonstration in Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan, during October, 1916, B. F. Leavitt descended to a depth of 361 feet in a new diving armor of which he is the inventor, and remained under for 45 minutes. In the Leavitt suit the diver has little difficulty with the joints, and it is claimed that recent improvements have made it more or less proof from “freezing,” or binding. A telephone in the helmet permits the diver to keep in constant communication with the men aboard the ship, and to direct their efforts, it being understood that the diver can do little physical work while at that depth and clad in such armor. His function is more one of directing operations carried on by machinery. Both the Jackson and Leavitt diving suits have much in common and it will be interesting to note how they are applied in actual salvaging operations.



Source: Popular Mechanics, Feb 1920.





Charles H. Jackson c1919. Source: here.

Although some press articles mention that Jackson patented his armor, I've been unable to locate any such patent. However, I did locate a Canadian patent for a diving helmet,


(12) Patent:     (11) CA 177249
(54) English Title:     DIVING ARMOUR

(72) Inventors (Country):     

JACKSON, CHARLES (United States of America)
JACKSON, HENRIETTE MINNIE (United States of America)

(45) Issued:     1917-05-22
(22) Filed Date:     1917-03-26

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1917 – Fageol 9-12 “Walking” Tractor – (American)

A Tractor that Walks?

Originally posted here on August 11, 2011 by heidrickaghistorycenter

The Fageol 9-12 “Walking” Tractor, 3500lbs, 1919. Heidrick Ag History Center.Our collection here at the Heidrick Ag History Center includes this little tractor.  Nestled in a line of other comparably sized tractors, you might first notice its because of its brown color.  But what really makes this tractor distinctive are its back wheels.  These back wheels are oddly shaped with grousers that look like spikes, and differ from the wheels of any other tractor that we have in our collection.

—Notice the spiked or wedged legs on the Fageol Walking Tractor. These kept the wheel rims from touching the ground, and made the tractor seem like it was "walking" on it. Heidrick Ag History Center Archives.
When farmers began working the fields in California, they quickly realized that the tractors they had been using on the East coast and in the mid-West were not suited for the soft California soil.  The rims of the wheels of many of these tractors sunk into the ground, and were difficult to get out once stuck. 

First manufactured by the Fageol Motor Company in 1917, the Fageol 9-12 was an early attempt at trying to prevent tractors from sinking into the soft California soil.  The spiked grousers, or legs, prevented the tractor from sinking into the soil, and in fact made it seem like the tractor almost floated above the soil.  The wedged grousers ensured that the wheel rims never even touched the ground.  The way that the tractor moved above the ground made some people think that the tractor was actually “walking” on the soil, thus earning the Fageol 9-12 the nickname as the “walking tractor.”

—Fageol Walking Tractor in use at a home orchard. No date. Heidrick Ag History Center Archives.
The Fageol 9-12 “Walking” Tractor design was unique not only because of its “walking” wheels, but it was also small enough to navigate small orchards and vineyards.  Advertisements for the tractor celebrated its “Tom Thumb” size, and marveled that at 3500 pounds it weighed only as much as a few horses.  The wheel design and size worked well on California’s orchards and vineyards, but its price tag of $1575 was too expensive for small farmers for the tractor to really catch on.  Even though the “walking” tractor design was discontinued by 1938, this unusual tractor is a great piece of California’s agricultural history!

Source: Popular Science, January 1923.

Other similar Walking Wheels

Source: Popular Science, May 1918.  Machine is a Hamilton-Fageol. The wheels are self-cleaning.

Walking Garden Sprinkler

Source: Popular Mechanics, October 1939.

See all Walking Machines including Walking Tractors and Walking Wheels here.

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1917 – “Pedomotor” Steam-Powered Running Device – Leslie C. Kelley (American)

Kelley invents the "Pedomotor", or power operated walking or running device to facilitate the operation of pedestrianism or running operation. The "Pedomotor" will provide relief of muscles utilized during the running operation, and to increase the speed of the person. Although any type of motive power can be applied, Kelley describes a small steam-engine to be worn on the persons back. Artificial ligaments parallel the main muscle ligaments and are directly connected to the motive power source.

See full patent here.


Patent number: 1308675
Filing date: Apr 24, 1917
Issue date: Jul 1, 1919


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