I have always been interested in diving, especially the deep diving stuff. Lately I have been doing some research and ran across this incredible title by Dr. William Beebe, "Half Mile Down". He talks about improving the Bathysphere that was originally conceived and designed by Otis Barton and the both of them, making several dives to many different depths, while setting new records! Each time increasing the depth until they reach just over 3000 feet for the first time in 1934! This, literally, just "scratches" the surface of the oceans depths!
The following is an excerpt from the book and I am totally blown away by it! I think this is the most descriptive recording I have ever seen to illustrate the awesome pressures of the deep!
"Dr. William Beebe was a pioneer in deep-sea exploration. With support from the National Geographic Society and the New York Zoological Society, Beebe constructed the Bathysphere (bathy = deep). In this steel sphere he would be lowered to depths of over 2,500.feet. The thick walled sphere was designed to withstand the great pressures of the ocean deep. The sphere had two thick quartz windows for viewing. To test the windows the bathysphere, unoccupied was lowered to 3,000 feet.
When the great steel ball was hauled up, Beebe wrote...
"It was apparent that something was very wrong, and as the bathysphere swung clear, I saw a needle of water shooting across the face of the port window. Weighing much more than she should have, she came over the side and was lowered to the deck. Looking through one of the good windows, I could see that she was almost full of water. There were curious ripples on the top of the water, and I knew that the space above was filled with air, but such air as no human being could tolerate, for even a moment. Unceasingly, the thin stream of water and air drove obliquely across the outer face of the quartz. I began to unscrew the giant wingbolt in the center of the door and after the first few turns, a strange high singing came forth, then a fine mist, steam - like in consistency, shot out, a needle of steam, then another and another. This warned me that I should have sensed when I looked through the window that the contents of the bathysphere were under terrific pressure. I cleared the deck in front of the door of everyone, staff and crew. One motion picture camera was placed on the upper deck and a second one close to, but well to one side of the bathysphere. Carefully, little by little, two of us turned the brass handles, soaked with the spray, and I listened as the high, musical tone.of impatient confined elements gradually descended the scale, a quarter tone or less at each slight turn. Realizing what might happen; we leaned back as far as possible from the line of fire. Suddenly without the slightest warning, the bolt was torn from our.hands and the mass of heavy metal shot across the deck like a shell from a gun. The trajectory was almost straight and the brass bolt hurtled into the steel winch, thirty feet across the deck and sheared a half-inch notch gouged out by the harder metal. This.was followed by a solid cylinder of water, which slackened after a while to a cataract, pouring out of the hole in the door, some air mingled with the water looking like hot steam. Instead of compressed air shooting through ice-cold water. If I had been in.the way, I would have been decapitated".
The pressures are great, indeed."
Awesome!! Being a book person, this prompted me to seek out 1st editions/1st printings with nice dust jackets! The end papers are images from the quartz observation windows..., pretty cool stuff! I heartily recommend anyone with the slightest interest, to pick up a copy and read this!
I also picked up a copy of "Descent - The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss", by Brad Matson. There was actually a rift between Dr. Beebe and Otis Barton, who accomplished many of the dives with him and who was primarily the engineering background of the dives and designer of the bathysphere. I just received this book and have just barely started it... another page-turner!. Skimming through it, it seems to be a must read, as well!