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Iron Suit

Iron Suit: The History of the Atmospheric Diving Suit.

When i first started gathering information for this book, I didn't suspect how difficult it would be to acquire reliable data about A.D.S. systems. Although there was some information from library sources, the vast majority of these books tended to be incomplete, unreliable, contradictory and generally useless for research purposes. In doing historical research I have always sought to confirm facts with more than one source. But while researching facts on A.D.S. systems I found that many books repeated information that I knew to be erroneous. In one case, I found three books that made the same identical statements, all wrong of course, which indicates to me that these authors did slipshod research or no research at all other than a single source, since even a cursory examination of other sources might have prevented these writers from perpetuating misleading information. I have therefore tried to garner information from as close to the source as possible: the original inventor, builder, or individual(s) who were connected with any particular system. This was not always possible, especially since those persons connected with the Neufeldt and Kuhnke Armored Suit, for example, have been deceased for probably half a century. I was forced at times then to rely on other people's records and work, but even then I have tried to confirm all pertinent facts with other sources.

There are a lot more people who write about the sea than understand it, and this fact seems to apply especially to individuals who have written about armored diving suits. This becomes obvious when a quick scan of their works shows a complete lack of understanding of basic physics as applied to ocean or hydraulic pressures. Ihave therefore attempted to write this book not only offering a historical view of A.D.S. systems but also including a rudimentary description of the mechanics involved in placing humans and machines underwater and under great pressure.

I am in essence a technician, a mechanic if you will. I do love machines. I am perhaps the last of that breed of men for whom engineering is instinctual. But I am also a professional commercial diver with many years of experience in a field of endeavor that is at once complex and difficult, requiring natural mechanical ability as well as an intelligent understanding and capability to assess the risks that I must overcome daily.

It is for these reasons that I feel I am in a unique position from which to observe the historical development of armored diving suits.

A final note regarding the terminology: Armored diving suits have a variety of names in this book. These names will be used interchangeably for they all really designate the same item with only slight nuances.

This book would not have been possible without the efforts and contributions of many people. Foremost among them is J. Scott Morrison. Scott graciously allowed me to use his SAE publication, Atmospheric Diving Suits and the Development of the Highly Mobile Rotary Joint, as the basic outline of this book. He contributed most of the last chapter as well, so his writing style is unmistakably imprinted on this book. Hard Suits International contributed the material and photos for the chapter on the Newt Suit, a truly remarkable piece of equipment that demonstrates the intelligence and foresight of its creator, Phil Nuytten. Mr. Morrison is a representative of Hard Suits International, and his efforts in putting me in touch with other individuals who were involved in the early development of the modern JIM suit were indispensable. In addition, a very special thanks goes to Mike Humphrey and Mike Borrow, who took time out of their very busy schedule to contribute material at their own expense and to pass on the story of the early company UMEL and the development of the JIM suit, to which they both contributed so much.

By Gary L. Harris.

Engelstalig, zwart/wit foto's en tekeningen.

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