Search the Collection
Advanced Search

High pressure air gauge

Date: 1953
Overall: 112 x 72 x 30 mm, 306 g
Medium: Metal, glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from P Piggot
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Air gauge
Object No: 00031669
Place Manufactured:Melbourne

User Terms

    This air gauge was made by the Breathing Appliance Company in Melbourne, Victoria. It consists of a glass front circular shape with screw attachment at the bottom. The gauge measures 0-3000 and was used to display how much air the diver had left. This air gauge was used for diving in NSW, Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef between 1953 and 1958.
    SignificanceThis air gauge reflects developments in diving equipment during the 20th century. The advancement of equipment to assist divers with breathing underwater has been integral to commercial, recreational and proffesional diving in Australia.
    HistoryIn 1837 the first diving suit as we know it today was made by Augustus Siebe. It consisted of a waterproof suit and airtight helmet. The diver was supplied with air from a hose attached to a surface air pump. The system was problematic because divers could not regulate their air flow and were only permitted small quantities of air. The development of the high pressure compressor in the 1900s and the Ohgushi Peerless Respirator in 1918, allowed divers to manually adjust their air flow with a valve.

    During the 1940s Jacques Cousteau, Emile Gagnan and M Melchoir working for the French company L'Air Liquide developed a twin hose diving regulator known as the aqualung, that allowed divers to breathe underwater. The company took out worldwide patents to protect their revolutionary development. In an effort to get around the French patents the Melbourne based engineer Ted Eldred separated the components of the aqualung into a first and second stage regulator linked by a single rubber hose. To manufacture his single hose regulator Eldred founded a company called the Breathing Appliance Company and began selling Porpoise Breathing Sets in Australia.

    The Porpoise Kit was first sold in Australia in 1953. It was made up of a second stage regulator with a mouth piece and strap to fit around the wearer's head. A black rubber hose then attached to the bottom of this regulator and the stage one regulator. The air tank was linked to the stage two regulators via two separate screw-on sections. The system featured a silver hexagonal valve to regulate the diver's air flow.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: HIGH PRESSURE AIR GAUGE

    Web title: High pressure air gauge

    Related People

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.