Underwater Salvage - RMS Lusitania
In the photo to the right, divers in 1935 prepare to explore the wreck of the RMS Lusitania nearly 20 years after its sinking.
The atmospheric diving suit pictured was named the Tritonia and developed by the British diving engineer Joseph Salim Peress. To make the suit lighter, Peress cast the Tritonia in magnesium instead of steel. Even with this innovation, the suit weighed in at a cool half-ton (1,000 LBS)! The Tritonia also allowed divers to move their limbs more freely with an innovative joint design.
The Tritonia's joint features a piston moving within a semi-hemispherical cylinder. As the joint moved, it pushed the piston along a curved cylinder filled with oil to reduce friction and make movement easier for the diver.
The RMS Lusitania was a British passenger ship launched at the turn of the 20th century. Suspected by the Germans as a cover for transporting explosives, the Lusitania was viewed as a naval vessel rather than a passenger ship.
In May of 1915, she was torpedoed by a German U-Boat off the coast of Ireland killing 1,200 passengers with approximately 130 of them being American. This sparked a national outcry among Americans and Britains alike, and this reprehensible act solidified the Lusitania's place in 20th century maritime history.