|CLASSIC DIVE BOOKS
"Divers and Diving"
Please note: The books are listed for interest only,
and not offered for sale.
|Adam Gowans Whyte
Published by Sir Issac Pitman and Sons, London
1938. Probably the only edition.
Hardcover, printed cloth covered boards, 128 pages, well illustrated with 33 photographs and engravings, size 13 X 19 cms.
From eBay: Great little book describing early diving techniques, contents include; diving in the olden days, the all metal diving dress, salving the 'Gladiator', Raising an American submarine, The treasure of the 'Laurentic', Tales of sunken treasure'... etc...
See review below.
I. DIVING IN OLDEN DAYS.
II. WHAT WATER PRESSURE MEANS.
III. THE INVENTION OF THE DIVING SUIT
IV. DOWN GOES THE DIVER..
V. DIVERS AT WORK.
VI. THE DANGERS OF DIVING.
VII. THE ALL-METAL DIVING DRESS
VIII. THE DIVING BELL . .
IX. HOW SHIPS ARE SALVED .
X. SALVING THE "GLADIATOR" .
XI. SALVING SHIPS UPSIDE DOWN .
XII. RAISING AN AMERICAN SUBMARINE
XIII. THE TREASURE OF THE "LAURENTIC".
XIV. THE "EGYPT'S" TREASURE AND THE "OBSERVATION CHAMBER".
XV. TALES OF SUNKEN TREASURE.
XVI. AN "EVERYDAY" SALVAGE JOB.
|LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
1. The" Lutine Bell" at Lloyd's, which is rung when news about Ships Missing or Lost is Announced .
2. A Pearl Diver Ready to Dive.
3. Lethbridge's" Engine" -One. of the Earliest Practicable Diving Suits .
4. Diagram of the Human Ear, showing the EustachianTube and the Ear Drum.
5. Diagram of Water Pressure at Various Depths.
6. An Experiment that shows how Water Presses Equally in all Directions.
7. Siebe's" Open" Diving Dress "
8. Siebe's First" Closed" Diving Dress.
9. Diver on his Shot Rope Doing Exercises to Get the Nitrogen Out of his Blood.
10. The "Davis Submerged Decompression Chamber"
11. A Port of London Diver Ready to go Down
12. The Diver's Clothes.
13. The Outlet Valve
14. A Double-Acting Air Pump for a Diving Boat.
15. A Diver under Water, using the Oxy-acetylene Cutter.
16. A Picture of Diver Light " Blown up" while Working on the Salvage of the Laurentic's Gold
17. An All-metal Diving Dress with Jointed Arms and Legs 51
18. The Siebe, Gorman "Observation Chamber" Made for the British Admiralty. .
19. Fleuss's Diving Dress, with Self-contained Breathing Apparatus fastened to the Back
20. Loreno's Diving Bell, Invented in 1531 58
21. Diagram showing how Water Pressure at Various Depths Compresses the Air in a Diving Bell .
22. Halley's Diving Bell (1690), which had a Separate Air Supply under Water Pressure.
23. Diving Bell used by the Port of London Authority.
24. "Skeleton" of a Cargo Ship, showing the Bulkheads Separating the Holds and the Machinery Space .
25. Lifting a Ship by Means of Wire Ropes Slung from Lighters .
26. A Pontoon Used in Lifting Ships .
27. Salving the Gladiator .
28. Salving the Glatton Upside Down ..
29. A Picture showing the Laurentic as she Lay Crumpled up on the Sea-bed, with her Decks Close Together.
30. The Steel "Observation Chamber" Used in Salving the Egypt's Gold.
31. Salving the Egypt's Gold.
32. Diving Bell (1665) used in Attempts to Recover the Tobermory Treasure.
33. Patches Made on the Hull of the Merauke.
|DIVERS AND DIVING by Adam Gowans Whyte, B.Sc.
Review by Peter Stone.
I was most delighted when given the opportunity to buy a copy of this sought-after book. I had been looking for a copy for many years and was able to purchase one in England. When finally I had it in my hands, it was not long before elation turned to disappointment. I was, in my ignorance, hoping for a rare book that would add to my relatively sparse knowledge of early standard dress diving. First published in 1938, I thought here I would find gems of information on early commercial diving, unique experiences of the men who donned hard hat and risked their lives for what was generally a miserable pay. Instead, I realised I was holding a rehash of the stories that I had read previously in other biographies and well respected texts.
The author offers nothing new in Divers and Diving. That he gives a ‘special acknowledgement' to Sir Robert H. Davis of Siebe, Gorman & Company is the first clue of what really is a well-written piece of plagiarism. Of the 128 pages, more than half can be directly contributed to Davis' Deep Diving and Submarine Operations, an edition of which any self-respecting reader of diving history would have in his or her collection. In Divers and Diving we have chapters such as ‘Diving in the Olden Days', ‘The Invention of the Diving Suit, ‘Down Goes the Diver', ‘Divers at Work, ‘The Diving Bell', and ‘How Ships are Salved' - all interesting stuff, all neatly taken directly from Davis' magnum opus. Even the drawings and photographs, such as there are, are attributed to Siebe, Gorman & Co.
Finally we leave Mr Davis' work behind - and are introduced to Mr. Desmond Young, he of the salvage book Ship Ashore. Now, I haven't read this book, it being quite rare, but had I done so I would have read of the loss of the British cruiser Gladiator in 1906, and the plan by the author's father to raise the ship. Here at last I can enjoy a good read and improve my knowledge - but, from an historic perspective, Divers and Divers again adds no further knowledge to early commercial diving. We move on to Scapa Flow and the work of Mr Cox, successfully raising the German battle cruiser Von Moltke. Could this have come from Gerald Bowman's The Man Who Bought a Navy ? Well, no actually, as Bowman's excellent book was published in 1964. Here perhaps we have some original research from Gowans Whyte.
I guess if we are going to have Davis and Young and Cox quoted, there has to be room for one of the best authors and salvage masters of all time, Commander Edward Ellsberg. Sure enough, Ellsberg's superb On the Bottom is referenced, specifically on the salvage of the submarine S51. Again, Gowans Whyte adds nothing to the data base of historic diving knowledge.
Whereas I might have thought that Mr Davis had more than his fair share of work reproduced, he gets another guernsey in a later chapter on the salvage of the White Star liner Laurentic, a fascinating tale it must be admitted. There is an interesting account written by the salvage master of the ship, Captain G.C.C. Durant, which I had not read before - and would most likely not have read as Gowans Whyte took the passages from the Journal of Hygiene - why it was printed in this peer-reviewed journal I have no idea.
Of course, in any book on ‘divers and diving', the author must include mention of the remarkable salvage of the gold from the P. & O. Liner Egypt off he coast of France in 1922. And where better to research this profitable event (financially but not in terms of lives), than David Scott's excellent The Egypt's Gold, published just six years before Divers and Diving.
We continue on with a chapter ‘Tales of Sunken Treasure', and learn of the ‘famous Lutine', the ‘Millions of Vigo Bay' and ‘The Tobermory Galleon' - all previously documented and published in detail. And finally there is mention of a more modern salvage job, that of the Dutch ship Merauke, grounded in 1926 - this acknowledged to Keeper of the Gate, by a Captain Iron of which I know nothing. It is a wonder that the prolific writer David Masters is not quoted, as several of his books, Wonders of Salvage, and When Ships go Down - and others - were published in the early 1930s.
In its day, Divers and Diving may have been an interesting book to the boy or young man interested in the excitement and challenges of standard dress and commercial diving. It is part of the ‘Science in Action' series of books published by Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd; Gowans Whyte is the general editor of the series. ‘These books describe in a readable way a number of interesting and important activities, and the scientific principles underlying them.' And indeed they do, covering the early days of cinematography, wireless communication, and heavy marine construction. It must therefore be acknowledged that Divers and Diving achieves its objective as part of the series. There is no question on the ability of Adam Gowans Whyte. He was a prolific writer on many science-related and practical subjects; the only other title of relevance to diving is Deep Sea Salvage, published earlier, in 1933. It too is a rare book.
So, what makes a book ‘rare'? What makes a book desperately sought out as a collector's item? These are not the same question. The easy answer is to suggest that it is the market that determines rarity, because it all comes down to money doesn't it? Rarity equates to value, not to scarcity. Rarity equates to a collector's ‘must-have' mentality; but that of course begs the question as to why one ‘must have' it. Maybe it is due to the need to collect all there is of a particular genre, or to complete a collection, or simply because if Tom has a copy then Dick wants one to, and Harry is jealous he didn't get it first.
With Divers and Diving, its rarity cannot be the content, with respect to people holding on to the book because it is a valuable reference. It is not. Perhaps the print run was low and it is indeed scarce.
Why did I want Divers and Diving - having never seen the book
and being totally ignorant of its content? Well, I guess it was simply
because its rarity was defined by the number of people that wanted a copy
and the fact that it rarely, there's that word again, came on the market.
So we go round in circles and get back to simple supply and that important
demand. As a collector, I'd like to have every book ever published that
relates to diving. Finance and opportunity direct this. But my passion
is shared between being a diver and a bibliophile. I need to combine the
two, and thus the value of a good book, to me, lies not only in its ‘rarity'
but in its construction, and content. I love to pick up an old book, to
smell its musty richness, and to feel its quality, to sense its age and
ponder its providence. And I like to know that within the book are gems
of knowledge that will enrich my life in some perhaps minuscule way. Unfortunately
Divers and Diving does not make the grade. I was disappointed.
I sold my copy - at a financial loss. I just did not want it in my collection.
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