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Dive knife sheath

Date: c 1953
Dimensions:
Overall: 320 x 65 x 30 mm, 69 g
Medium: Leather with metal studs
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from P Piggot
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Knife sheath
Object No: 00031672

User Terms

    Description
    This leather knife sheath was made to hold a divers knife and was used between 1953 and 1958 for diving in NSW, Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. It features stitching and five studs along the edge with a strap to be placed around the knife handle. The sheath would have been strapped on to a diver’s belt while they were underwater.
    SignificanceThis knife sheath reflects diving equipment used by commercial, recreational and professional divers in Australia during the 20th century.
    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: DIVE KNIFE SHEATH

    Web title: Dive knife sheath

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