|CLASSIC DIVE BOOKS
The Williamson Brothers
Books on and by the brothers Ernest and George Williamson.
These books are not listed for sale.
|John 'Ernest, or JE' Williamson (1881-1966) was active in motion pictures
for nearly fifty years. His father was a sea captain, Charles Williamson
of Norfolk, who had invented a deep-sea tube, made of a series of concentric,
interlocking iron rings, which stretched like an accordion. Suspended from
a specially outfitted ship, this shaft into the sea facilitated easy communication
and plentiful air down to depths of up to 250 feet. When attached to a
diving-bell type apparatus, the tube could be used for underwater repair
and salvage work. In 1912, young Williamson, then a journalist, realized
that his father's mechanism could also be used to obtain undersea photographs
or even motion pictures. With a light hung from the mother ship to illuminate
the sea in front of the tube, still photographs of the depths of Hampton
Roads, Virginia, proved so successful that Williamson was urged to try
See the following for an excellent background on the film-making of
the two brothers:
|20 YEARS UNDER
Copyright, first printing 1936. Published by The Junior Literary Guild and Hale, Cushman and Flint, New York, 1936.
Hardcover, no dustjacket, printed boards, 320 pages, mono plates throughout.
I havn't read this one through as yet, but the author was a pioneer in underwater cinematography and shot the underwater footage for Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea - the original silent movie ? - with a mechanical giant octopus. Looks like a very interesting book.
|CHILD OF THE DEEP
Frances Jenkins Olcott & John E Williamson
Illustrated with Williamson Undersea Photographs
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, USA in 1938.
Hardback with dustjacket; 116 printed pages. Dimensions : 21.5 cms tall by 16 cms wide
Detail from dustjacket -"A new experience is opened to young readers when they go deep sea exploring with Sylvia Williamson under the tropic waters of the West
Indies. Her father, a famous undersea photographer, took her with him down to accordion tube to the glass house in which he travelled the ocean floor. Under the
water, Sylvia saw bright coral castles and coloured forests of sea fern and sea plume, and pink and blue and green fish, as well as sharks and many other interesting things. One day she and her father even discovered a long lost Spanish sea chest. A simply written story with a wealth of exciting incidents and scientific information by the author of "Twenty Years Under the Sea" in collaboration with Frances Jenkins Olcott, author, librarian, editor".
The book is written 23 chapters and is illustrated with 8 monochrome plates and 4 coloured drawings done from inside WIlliamsons viewing chamber. One of the
photographs shows young Sylvia being helped into the tube to descend to the sphere and another is a diagram showing how Williamson's sphere and it's tube were
connected to the mother ship the Jules Verne. [pt]
|WONDERS OF THE DEEP:
THE STORY OF THE WILLIAMSON SUBMARINE EXPEDITION
Victor E. Allemandy,
Jarrold & Sons, London. c.1916
Full red or sage-green cloth, monochrome film-still laid down to front board; 94 pages; illus. bw. photos./monochrome film-stills.Probably no dustjacket. Size = 19 X 25 cms, well illustrated with black/ white and (hand coloured ?) photographs. Dimensions: 25 cms tall by 19.5 cms wide.
Concise account of the submarine expedition (in 1914) of brothers Ernest and George Williamson, seeking to capture on film the undersea world. The story of the first film-makers of undersea life.
Contents include; In the Bahamas, At Nassau, Taking Submarine Motion Pictures, Some oddities of fish life, Deep sea diving, A thrilling fight with a blue shark...etc.
This book tells the story of Ernest & George Williamson's expeditions with their "deep sea tube" used to make underwater photographs and movies from their earliest ideas conceived in 1912. The book is divided into 12 chapters: "The Birth of an Idea", "In the Bahamas", "At Nassau", "Getting Ready", Taking Submarine Motion Pictures", "Denizens of the Deep", "Some Oddities of Fish Life", "Sponge Fishing", "The Coral Architect", "Deep Sea Diving" and "A Thrilling Fight With A Blue Shark". There are many monochrome illustrations and several that are tinted green, many are full page format. There is an interesting binding as an actual green tinted photograph of parrotfish is on the cover, it is part of one of the green tinted photographs shown inside. Other books that may be of interest are "20 Years Under the Sea" by J E Williamson and "Child of the Deep" by J E Williamson & Frances Jenkins Olcott. [pt].ps]
|First Day Cover.
The envelope and 4d stamp cancellation mark says this letter was posted in Williamsons photosphere from the sea floor on May 6th 1940. The full text reads:
"From the sea floor, Nassau, Bahamas. Only undersea post office in the world May 6th 1940. 100th Aniversary of the penny black worlds first postage stamp"
The drawing on the first day cover envelope shows the photosphere suspended under a ship, a cutaway of the sphere showing someone filming a diver outside on the seabed. There is also a representation of a well known photo taken by Williamson. Inside the envelope is a newspaper type article explaining a short history of the Williamson's, this was supplied with the envelope at the time. [pt]