Underwater diving suit

Underwater diving suit

Inv. 414
Interpretation by Luigi Tursini, 1953

"Jacket and trousers, and a small skin for urinating, a skirt of tasses, and a skin for holding the air, with half-circles of iron to keep it apart from your chest. If you have a whole skin, with balls for valves, when you deflate it you will go to the bottom with it, drawn by the sacks of coarse sand. When you inflate it, you will return upward, onto the water. A mask with the eyes covered with glass. But have the weight be what you can lift in your swimming. Take a knife that cuts well, so a net will not end up catching you. Take with you 2 or 3 small skins, deflated, which you can inflate like balls if you need."

Already in Leonardo's times, scientists used to experiment systems for working under water at a certain depth. Leonardo designs a leather diving suit consisting of a bomber jacket, trousers and a mask with glasses. The bulge in the bomber jacket, a leather bag designed to contain the air supply, is supported by a structure made of iron rings. Believing that this air supply could last for long, Leonardo also designs a small jar for containing urines and an hermetically locked leather bag with a valve to be used for rising and sinking underwater. There are also some bags filled with sand to be used as weights, a long rope, a knife and a horn for signalling the end of the operation.

The model is based on the drawing:

  • Codex Atlanticus f. 909 v. (1487)
    Milano, Biblioteca Ambrosiana