Diving bell with washed air, pneumatic. P.61.

Photograph: David Remes (2003)

Many of Joseph Priestley’s experiments with air of the mid 1770s were discussed at Lunar meetings, and Darwin’s Commonplace book reflects his interest in them:

There is a reason to believe from some of Dr Priestley’s experiments that air which has been breathed, by being washed in water becomes fit to breath again. Suppose a person was to put his head under a small diving bell, & by such a pump, as that described on the reverse page, could throw a stream continually in showers about the bell, would it not sufficiently purify the air? The water should be a running stream, & the pump takes it from a little distance. It might not be the same water again & again. This experiment with a candle & a syphon inverted under a cork might be easily tried.


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3996-0Erasmus Darwin’s Commonplace Book 1088-0The Scope and Nature of Darwin’s Commonplace Book 1091-0Artificial bird. P.32, 38. 1099-0Bigrapher. P.53. 1108-0Canal lift. P.58-9. 1115-0Diving bell with washed air, pneumatic. P.61. 1117-0Polygrapher. P.78. 1124-0Electrical doubler. P.79. 1128-0Rocket motor. P.82.