The First Instance Of Caisson Disease

The Arts Mechanical

Caisson disease, better known as compression Sickness or the bends became widely known with the construction of the deep piers of the Eads Bridge in St Louis. Caisson disease, not actually a disease. What happens is that the deeper you into the water the more you compresss.  If you are on breath hold like most of the divers in the 19th Century your lungs compress with the rest of you and there’s not really any possibility of nitrogen bubbling into the blood stream under compression.

Hard hat diving had been around since the early 19th Century, but I couldn’t find much on the internet about decompression sickness from 19th Century hard hat divers.  I suspect that much of the reason for that is that hard hat diving is strenuous enough that bottom times are fairly short and the ascents are slow, so the possibility of the bends is mitigated…

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