The Art of Living Underwater, by M Triewald


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English edition of a rare 18th century diving book

Mårten Triewald was one of Sweden’s most prominent scientists, combining a sharp intellect with a natural mechanical ability. The period during which he lived saw the beginnings of the Industrial revolution in Sweden. He came to England in 1716, and during the next ten years was involved in designing and building some of the earliest steam engines, improving the ventilation of coal mines, and giving some of the earliest public lectures on scientific subjects.

Returning to his native Sweden in 1726, he continued his pioneering work in building the country’s first steam engine and giving lectures on scientific subjects. He formed a diving and salvage company which entailed setting up a well organised system of salvage far in advance of anything else in Europe. He introduced a new design for the diving bell, which was the principal apparatus for diving at that time, and also an array of tools for use in salvaging wrecked ships.

The Art of Living under Water and its supplement (Use of the Art of Living Under Water) provide a unique insight into the equipment, tools and methods of diving and salvage used in the first half of the eighteenth century, and might be described as the first manual on the subject.

There were very few monographs on diving published in the eighteenth century, but Triewald’s book is the largest and easily the best of them. Furthermore, it is the best and most detailed book on salvage by divers written to the end of the eighteenth century, and beyond. In 2004 The Historical Diving Society published this facsimile of two of his books*. This English translation is the first printing of either work since 1741, and the first edition to appear in any language other than Swedish.

Hardback with dustjacket
195 mm x 254 mm (7.75 in x 10 in)
96 pages
Black and white
Limited edition of 500 copies
Published 2004

* The full titles in translation of his original books are: ‘The Art of Living under Water or a short Description of the Inventions, Machines and Tools upon which the Charters of The Diving and Salvage Society are based and with which Trials were carried out under two Parliaments before Deputed Representatives of the Realm and Royal Estate of Sweden’ (1734), and ‘Use of the Art of Living under Water or A Short Description of the Inventions, Machines and Tools which the Northern Diving and Salvage society, after demonstrating them during the Parliament of 1731, have ordered to be produced, and now had engraved to scale on copper by Mårten Triewald’.

Additional information

Weight 0.62 kg