Posts Tagged ‘British’

1974 – CUTLET Unmanned Underwater Vehicle – (British)


DEPTH: 1,148'
DIMENSIONS (LxWxH): 180" x 67" x 83"
WEIGHT: 2,536 lbs
SPEED: (Max Surface) NA
(Max Current) NA
STRUCTURE: Open metal framework with ring-stiffened tanks for buoyancy.
PROPULSION: Three 10 hp, reversible, electric thrusters (2 long, 1 vert). Maneuvering accomplished by independent control of thrusters.
INSTRUMENTATION: Two CCTV cameras on p&t units, mag compass, depthometer, altimeter, torpedo locator, obstacle avoidance sonar, transponder, hydraulic manipulator with circular-type (torpedo grasping) claw.
POWER REQ: 440V, 60Hz, 38.
SHIPBOARD COMPONENTS: Power supply, cable tray, winch.
SUPPORT VESSEL REQ: Crane rated for vehicle weight, deck space: 12.8' x 9.8' x 8.9' for control van.
BUILDER: Admiralty Underwater Weapons Establishment, Portland, Dorset DTS 2J5, England


CUTLET is another unmanned vehicle under development. It is a recovery vehicle broadly based on CURV and is being developed by the UK Ministry of Defence at the Admiralty Underwater Weapons Establishment in Portland. Design information has not been made available publicly. It is known that trials of the partially completed system were carried out in Autumn 1974 and that work is continuing. Source: AD-A018 474 – PROCEEDINGS OF THE UNDERSEA MEDICAL SOCIETY WORKSHOP (7TH) ON MEDICAL ASPECTS OF SMALL SUBMERSIBLE OPERATIONS HELD AT SUBMARINE DEVELOPMENT GROUP 1, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA ON 19-20 NOVEMBER 1974
D. A. Hall, et al
Undersea Medical Society
Prepared for: Office of Naval Research

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1969 – JIM Atmospheric Diving Suit – Mike Humphrey, Mike Borrow, Richard Tuson and Joseph Salim Peress (British)

Deep Sea Diving

1969 –  JIM Atmospheric Diving Suit by Mike Humphrey, Mike Borrow, Richard Tuson and Joseph Salim Peress.


The original Peress Tritonia suit is in the middle, surrounded by type 2's with type 3 arms, then standard type 2 JIM suits on the outer. Image from

The Canadian Diving Symposium
31 October – 1 November 1977
Technical Report – D.J. Fullerton

By Mr. Phil Nuytten
Can-Dive Oceaneering
North Vancouver, B.C.

Note: No images appeared in the original article.

Enter "JIM"
Personalising the ADS by giving it the name "JIM" was done somewhat tongue-in-cheek by DHB Construction Ltd., although it was meant as a genuine tribute to "Pop Peress's" first test diver, Jim Jarrett.
A problem, more physiological than technical, is the fact that the suit gets all the credit rather than the operator. The press seldom say, "John Doe, wearing an ADS, set a new depth record", but "Jim sets new record"–very demoralising for the operator!
Another problem that arose is a familiar one in the aeronautics or aerospace industry. From "JIM's" progeny sprang names "JIM 2", "SAM 1", "SAM 2", "WASP 1" and with it the difficulty of determining precisely what model is being discussed.
ADS Terminology
Basically, the ADS is discussed in-house, using the following terminology:
a. Type 1 (JIM) – The original prototype "JIM" utilizing a cast magnesium alloy body.
b. Type 2 (JIM) – A modified version of the Type 1, but using the same material for the body casting.
c. Type 3 (SAM) – Sam is a smaller, more compact version of JIM and uses a fabricated aluminum body and a re-configured joint system.
d. Type 4 (SAM) – SAM 4 is a redesign of SAM 3 using a fibreglass body shell.
e. WASP    – A mid-water unit using thrusters and a tubular lower body section rather than articulated legs.
Type Description


Original restored Peress "Tritonia" suit, now designated as "JIM Type 1" at the London Science Museum. See also separate post on Peress Tritonia suit from the 1930's.

Type 1 (JIM) – The original "JIM" prototype is not used operationally but serves as a design-change and accessory test platform in the Alton Plant.


 thumb_jim1 thumb_jim3 jim jim2 JIM-NS7jun1973-1 - Copy jim-suit-1
Type 2 (JIM) – The type 2 is the configuration most familiar to the public because of extensive press and trade journal coverage. The type 2 has a body section of cast magnesium alloy with operator entry through a hinged head dome. The limbs utilize a patented semi-sphere joint system originally designed by "Pop" Peress so further modified by UMEL designer, Mike Humphries. The joints use a fluid bearing and allow flexion extension as well as rotation. The elbow and hand pods, the boots and the leg spacers are made of both magnesium alloy and glass reinforced plastic. Vision is through four optically-ground ports in the head dome section.

[cyberneticzoo:  There appears to be a hybrid version of a type 2 body with type 3 arms – see pics below.]

jim-suit psmay83-wasp-jim-2-x640

Source: Popular Science, May 1983.


Sylvia Earle – Source: The New Yorker, 3 Jul 1989.

An informal portrait of the Jim suit, a scuba diving contraption Jim-hybrid-x640 JIM ADS hybrid Suit TYPE JimPrototype


SAM-suit-single-viewhole SAM_ADS_Dive_Suit sammike

Type 3 (SAM) – The type 3 SAM is a somewhat smaller version of JIM and has its operator entry through a hinged mid section. The body is fabricated of aluminum rather than magnesium alloy which results in a reduction of depth rating but allows a such shorter building time and a drastically decreased post-dive schedule. A major change from JIM is the limb system. The type 3 limb uses a joint design, perfected by Mike Humphries that allows a significant increase in the articulation range with a decrease in physical size. Although the type 3 joint is essentially a modification of the currently patented type 2 joint, it is different enough to be the subject of an additional series of pending patents.
The operator's viewing system is also altered and a single semispherical port replaces the four port system in the type 2 JIM. The hand manipulators have been re-designed from the original parallel-jaw grip to an opposed digit manipulator that allows angular deflection as well as rotation, relative to the hand pod. It should be noted that all the manipulators have been designed to fit any ADS in the series so that no particular manipulator is standard to a suit type, but rather can be fitted for either general use or specific task functions. These changes on the type 3 SAM ADS result in a more compact unit that closely follows the lines of the human body. Wearing the type 3, the operator feels more "man-in-sea" than in the JIM unit and the increased mobility heightens the effect.


JAM-suit--x640 JAM JAM_ADS_Suit JAM2Some images sourced here.
Type 4 (SAM) – SAM 4 is essentially the same as the type 3, but has a body shell fabricated from a high density re-inforced plastic material. The result of this change will be to increase the rated working depth to a level even greater than the original JIM systems as well as virtually eliminate the troublesome post dive maintenance. Because of the materials used in the JIM series, corrosion has always been a serious potential problem. Avoidance of this problem has entailed rigid specifications on coating materials and applications as well as a routine post dive inspection of virtually every square inch of the suit surface. The non-metallic type 4 will not require the same rigorous post dive procedure. [ cyberneticzoo:This suit, I believe, is also referred to as a JAM suit.]


WASP Dive Suit TYPE 2 wasp 15018151 ads-wasp-nat-geo-jul83 Oceaneering-WASP-diving-suit-at-OTC-306x215
WASP – The WASP is a new-comer to the ADS Service line and essentially comprises a standard ADS upper body and vision dome system with tubular lower body. The unit is fitted with rotateable thrusters and "flys" in a manner similar to the most maneuverable of the current crop of small manned submersibles. The unit is fitted with the type 3 SAM arms and manipulators. Since WASP in not as widely known as "JIM", it may be appropriate to discuss the design and working concept in some detail.
The WASP unit nay be viewed as a hybrid between a very small submersible and the standard ADS articulated system. WASP is designed to work at depths up to 2,000 feet and receives power for its thrusters through a small diameter surface umbilical. A unique feature is the on-board battery system which acts as a buffer to allow spurts of full power that the umbilical would not be capable of supplying. In addition, the battery system acts as a safety device in that it provides for self-contained operation for nearly one hour, should the umbilical be severed. The umbilical can be detached from inside the WASP and the operator can surface using thruster power, or make a buoyant ascent by jettisoning ballast.
The WASP unit can alter buoyancy and altitude and is able to assume virtually any position by use of the rotating thruster. Since the operator has his arms occupied during work tasks, the unit is designed to be controlled by foot pedal motions similar to those used in driving a motor vehicle. WASP was designed by Graham Hawkes, an engineer who worked extensively with the JIM systems.

Note: The article was written by Phil Nuytten, co-founder of Oceaneering International. Nuytten later left Oceaneering and set up another company to build the HARDSUIT and EXOSUITs.

DHB Construction Limited was formed in 1969 by Dr David Dennison, David BL Hibbert and Mike Borrow and was based in Alton, Hampshire. DHB was formed to enable Underwater and Marine Equipment Limited (UMEL) to receive the finance it required to develop an atmospheric diving suit or ADS (also referred to as an articulated or armoured diving suit). Atmospheric diving suits are made of rigid material which protect the diver from high external pressures, allowing divers to work at greater depths – up to 2500 feet or 758 metres – without undergoing decompression treatments. The articulated joints on the suits allow divers to complete a range of tasks underwater, many of which could not be completed by remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).

UMEL and DHB's ADS design was based on a suit developed by Joseph Salim Peress (1896-1978) in the 1920s. Peress' armoured 'Tritonia' diving suit used a patented hydraulic joint and was used to locate the SS Lusitania off the Irish Coast in 1935. Although Peress' suit was tested by the Royal Navy, there was little interest in the use of the suit by the Navy or commercially at the time. By the late 1960s the expansion of the offshore oil and gas industry had created a potential market for atmospheric diving suits, and UMEL and DHB received a grant from the British Government through the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) to support the design and construction of their ADS. The majority of the initial design work was carried out by Mike Humphrey, Mike Borrow, Richard Tuson and Salim Peress. The suits were named after the diver on the Lusitania dive, Jim Jarrett, and Peress's original suit became known as the ADS Type I or JIM 1.

JIM 2, completed in November 1971, was tested in the diving tank of the Royal Navy's experimental diving unit at Portsmouth, HMS Vernon and the pressure chamber at the Admiralty Underwater Weapons Establishment (AUWE) before undergoing sea trials from HMS Reclaim, the Navy's salvage vessel, on the West Coast of Scotland. Test dives of 1000 feet were achieved at AUWE and the suit reached 400 feet in the Reclaim test, and was only prevented from reaching deeper depths by the limitations of the Reclaim' support divers. Additional trials were completed with BP, the AUWE and the Royal Navy Physiological Laboratory between 1972 and 1974. A second model, JIM 3, was constructed and tested in 1972, and later models were constructed in fibreglass (the JAM suit) and aluminium or reinforced plastic (the SAM suit). The JIM suit was first used commercially in 1974, carrying out work for Retrasub in the Canary Islands and an attempted well head recovery for Occidental in the North Sea. Oceaneering acquired the rights to licence the suits in 1975, which led to an increase in their use for deep sea diving in the oil industry. By 1981 there were over 19 suits in existence.

Source: here.

JIM suit Experience:

In the late 1960s—with North Sea diving booming—two Britons, Mike Humphrey and Mike Borrow, formed Underwater Marine Equipment. They'd decided to build their own atmospheric diving suit. Through their research, they found their way right back to Joseph Peress and the Tritonia suit [from the 1930’s], tracking it down in Glasgow and refurbishing it. Legend has it that the Peress himself, who was born in the 19th century, tested the restored suit.

In 1971, the inventors finished their own version, the JIM suit, named after Jim Jarrett [sic]. They formed a company called DHB Construction to commercialize their invention. And they hired a very young engineer named Graham Hawkes.

WASP Dive Suit TYPE 1

He's the man in the photograph, the one with the flashlight.

"One of the things that's very different from scuba is that you're breathing normally and there are no bubbles. You are very aware of your breath. This is gonna sound a little strange, but: You can't see water. There is no splashing. There's no nothing. It just felt like I was standing on an alien planet. I felt like I was on the surface of the moon. The water was so clear, it looked like a hazy atmosphere," Hawkes told me about standing on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in a JIM suit.

"There were small creatures burrowing. What we know as sediment was drifting away—it looked exactly like smoke. I was just wrestling with all of these images which nothing can prepare you for," he said. "I was an adult at that point but there is no precedent for it. Everything looks alien and all you want to do is let your jaw hang slack and just stare and try to absorb stuff."

"It was the first time I'd ever dived in the ocean. I'd never scuba dived. I'd never even really snorkeled. I'd been in all kinds of Navy tanks testing these things, but never in the ocean," Hawkes said. "It was a commercial operation with a JIM to try and salvage some things, which were in the Atlantic. And I ended up jumping in the JIM suit and standing on the seafloor at 300 feet. I was supposed to be walking around looking for supertanker anchors, big massive chains. There was supposed to be one near me."

"But what happened was, I was stunned by the sea life. I must have been this great big alien that just landed there, but nobody cared. If you go into a forest, all the animals kind of flee. Here they were all just carrying on, and there are things crawling around on the sea bed and fish and things flapping past me. And they were not fleeing. I ended up turning around and around and around just staring at the sea life. I was just in awe. In turning round and round, I ended up digging a hole. I dug such a hole that by the time I came out of my reverie, I asked the top side to lift me up and they just dragged me all the way out of there," Hawkes concluded.

Hawkes is not describing the moment in the photograph that inspired this story. He is, instead, talking about his first experience with a JIM suit in the ocean.

He spent a lot of time in these suits in those early years. While the JIM suit had its advantages over saturation diving, the user experience was not pleasant.

The JIM suit's leg mobility max, from a US Navy report.

As one descended, the viewports were designed to slide in a bit, but they didn't slide in smoothly. They'd pop into place and Hawkes says it was like having a rifle go off in your face … as you're descending hundreds of feet into the abyss. Saltwater and oil from the joints would pool around one's feet. And as he moved the limbs of the suit, they tended to "grab a piece of flesh and bite you," Hawkes put it.

The mobility of the suits was limited and required a lot of strength. The legs, such as they were, could not bend at the knee, so the people testing them had to swing their legs out to do any kind of locomotion. Imagine walking on stilts. It took the some getting used to.

Lieutenant Robert C. Carter of the US Navy evaluated the JIM suits in 1976. Their maximum walking speed was about 50 feet per minute, a small fraction of a regular person on land. Among the tasks JIM suit divers tried, they found "the type of short, gross movement exemplified by sawing" to be the suit's forte.

One of them shows up in the 1981 James Bond movie, For Your Eyes Only, worn by a bad guy who attacked Bond. This is the JIM suit guy delivering a slow-motion underwater blow to 007's face. I imagine that this is about as realistic as a Michael Bay sequence in Transformers.

A JIM suit in For Your Eyes Only

Because of these limitations, Hawkes and his colleagues were eager to improve on the suit. But by that time, a company [Oceaneering] providing subsea services (mostly saturation diving) to the oil industry had purchased DHB and all the rights to its technology.

Source: here.

Patents used in the JIM suit variants:


A flexible joint for use with apparatus subjected to an internal/external pressure differential such as used in submersible diving apparatus. The joint comprises an annular male member movably housed within an annular female member. The male member has an annular piston which moves in a closed annular cylinder carrying a sealing liquid in the female member and sealing means are carried on the cylinder walls which engage and seal the walls of the annular piston.

Publication number    US3759550 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Sep 18, 1973
Filing date    Aug 30, 1971
Priority date    Sep 4, 1970
Also published as    CA959086A1
Inventors    Peress J
Original Assignee    Peress J




Publication number    US3754779 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Aug 28, 1973
Filing date    Aug 30, 1971
Priority date    Sep 4, 1970
Also published as    CA941858A1
Inventors    Peress J
Original Assignee    Peress J

A flexible joint for use with apparatus subjected to an internal/external pressure differential for example, submersible diving apparatus. The joint comprises an annular female member into which a relatively angularly movable annular male member can extend and which members are coupled together by an annular connecting member. The couplings between the female member and the connecting member, and between the connecting member and the male member each include an annular piston located within a part-spherical closed annular cylinder filled with fluid.

The Ken Humphrey patents. The original patents were British: GB1524033A and  GB1526400A .

Published here are the US equivalents.


Articulated joint

Publication number    US4077218 A
Publication type    Grant
Application number    US 05/643,285
Publication date    Mar 7, 1978
Filing date    Dec 22, 1975
Priority date    Dec 19, 1974
Inventors    Kenneth Michael Humphrey
Original Assignee    Underwater And Marine Equipment Limited

A joint, subject to a pressure differential between inside and outside, having two tubular members flexibly joined by couplings comprising an annular piston sliding within an annular cylinder containing an incompressible fluid, a fluid reservoir connected to and at a higher pressure than the cylinder interior and valve means responsive to fluid loss from the cylinder allowing fluid flow from reservoir to cylinder. The valve may comprise two semi-circular arms pivoted at their ends to each other and to the piston or cylinder, the arms operating on opposite ends of a rocker plate attached centrally to a valve plunger. A differential piston maintains the high reservoir pressure. The valve is adjustable to operate at a predetermined value of cylinder fluid volume.


Flexible tubular joint

Publication number    US4369814 A
Publication type    Grant
Application number    US 06/229,071
Publication date    Jan 25, 1983
Filing date    Jan 28, 1981
Priority date    Nov 27, 1980
Fee status    Lapsed
Also published as    CA1153781A1
Inventors    Kenneth M. Humphrey
Original Assignee    Underwater And Marine Equipment Limited

A joint which may be used in a diving suit includes a plurality of annular members each having a piston and cylinder portion which are coupled together whereby the connecting members are connected in series. The piston and cylinder portions define chambers which are filled with oil and each connecting member has valves which enable communication of the oil between adjacent connecting members as the joint is flexed. A slidably anchored gimbal mounting is provided for each valve in order to preserve the flexibility of the joint without impeding valve action and in order to prevent pullout of the adjacent piston and cylinder portions. The piston and cylinder portions each include inner and outer annular walls and the inside surfaces of the annular walls of the cylinder portions are spherically curved. The annular walls terminate in respective circular rims which are oppositely staggered. This facilitates assembly on the annular connecting members. A further arrangement ensures that the oil chambers in the serial chain on connecting members each receive an adequate supply of oil.

Some images and some further history on JIM suits see divingheritage.

I haven't credited every image use in this post. Let me know if credit for your image is required.

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1952 – Deep-Sea Diving Robot – Al Mikalow (American)


TREASURE HUNTING ROBOT-A 1,500 pound diving robot is checked over by diver Al Mikalow (right) and Paul Ilsley, a diving instructor at Mikalow's diving school in Oakland, Calif. Mikalow intents to dive in the robot later this summer in a search for treasure which legend says lies waiting in the Rio de Janiero, which sank in the Golden Gate entrance to San Francisco Bay, in 1901. Source: Press photo June 1961.


Photo: Carlos Domingues via




December 2000

Mikalow – 1952 (United States)

During a period of history considered by many to be a gap in the development of the atmospheric diving suit, Alfred A. Mikalow, once director and owner of the Coastal School of Deep Sea Diving, in Oakland, California, designed and built an atmospheric diving suit (Figure 16). His suit, employing ball and socket joints, was built for the purpose of locating and salvaging sunken treasure. The suit was reportedly capable of diving to depths of 1,000 feet and was used successfully to dive on the sunken vessel, City of Rio de Janeiro, in 328 feet of water near Fort Point, San Francisco, California (Rieseberg, 1965).

The Mikalow had several interchangeable instruments that could be attached in place of the usual manipulators at the end of the arms. The "deep-sea diving robot", as it was called in Fell's Guide to Sunken Treasure Ships of the World [1st 1965], carried seven 90 cubic feet high-pressure cylinders to provide the breathing gas and control the buoyancy. The ballast compartment covered the air cylinders and opened at the bottom near the diver's legs. The suit used hydrophones as its primary means of communication with the surface and powerful searchlights were attached to the head and arms.

Note: Although Thornton dates this suit at 1952, the first press articles don't appear until 1961.

See other early Underwater Robots here.

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

Mr. J.S. Peress, the inventor of the new armoured diving suit, getting his device ready for tests in the tank today at Weybridge. United Kingdom. May 28, 1930.

Joseph Salim Peress with his "Tritonia" Diving Armour.


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

ps-oct-37-2 - Copy-x640




Peress with his new diving armour.



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



Preparing to explore the wreck of the Lusitania.




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 Peress-El_Paso_Herald_Post_Aug_9_1935-x640 Peress-El_Paso_Herald_Post_Oct_12_1935-x640

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 low 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)


1921-5 – Diving Armor by Joseph Salim Peress.

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Sea Suit

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

Diving Suit

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


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.


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.


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.