Science Art: Sketch of a Decompression Chamber in Use from Caisson Sickness, and the Physiology of Work in Compressed Air, by Leonard Hill, M.B., 1912.

sketch of decompression chamber in use

People seem to like caissons (pressurized chambers used to build foundations underwater), or so my search referrals tell me.

Well, here’s what working in a caisson can do to you – give you the bends, or something like it. To avoid that, yer construction crew needs to go into a thing like this. Once they take off the deep-sea diving suits, they slide up into the little room and sit there. And wait.

This is high-tech, high-investment stuff for the 1910s.

The book Caisson sickness, and the Physiology of Work in Compressed Air also includes observations like:

Compressed-air work has its humorous side. Two workers in the Tower Bridge caissons were seized with “bends.” One danced about with the pain, and he was quickly relieved; the other knelt down and prayed. As the religious exercise proved of no avail, he also quickly betook himself to dancing and thus found relief.

Found this figure in the Open Library at