42.0 x 59.4cm, Ink
William Beebe is one of my inspirations- a scientist studying anything from birds to fish and often presenting his discoveries in creative ways that reduced the gap between scientists and the public (the text on this image is taken from one of his ppublications, illustrated by the amazing Ellsa Bolsterman). The contraption depicted here is his “Bathysphere”, deployed between 1930 and 1934. This spherical submersible, with a very steampunk aesthetic, allowed Beebe and his partner Otis Barton to dive to depths hitherto unknown to men (setting a world record at the time of just over 3000 feet deep) and observe mid pelagic and deep sea creatures for the first time in their natural habitat. It was unpowered, which means that once it was sealed of at the surface, it was gently let down to the deep sea by a cable attached to a vessel and sometimes manouvered slightly by means of a rudder.
Technology has greatly improved since this first tentative invention, with state of the art sumbersibles and Remote controlled underwater video systems, but a huge part of the oceans, especially the mid and deep seas have remained largely unexplored. There is something romantic and 2000-leagues-under-the-sea-esque about this early 20th century venture into the obscure world beneath the waves.
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