New telephone works under water

Tony Evans (left) and Maurice Harknett testing the telephone communication system, installed in a free diving outfit.
Tony Evans (left) and Maurice Harknett testing the telephone communication system, installed in a free diving outfit.
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Picture: Malcolm Wells

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A new two-way telephone system which would provide an important communications bonus for divers was developed in labs at Portsmouth Polytechnic.

Lecturers Maurice Harknett and Tony Evans were working on the design for the new underwater telephone.

A novel feature was the two-way speech system incorporating special earphones and microphones which could operate in the pressures encountered and were protected against salt water corrosion.

Underwater inspection and repair of offshore rigs would form the major use of the system where maintaining communication with specialists above the water was a priority.