But one great step has been made in the diver's art by the introduction of the chemical system of respiration, the invention of Mr. Fleuss. He has succeeded in devising a perfectly portable apparatus, containing a chemical filter, by means of which the exhaled breath of the diver is deprived of its carbonic acid; the diver also carries a supply of compressed oxygen from which to add to the remaining nitrogen oxygen, in substitution for that which has been burnt up in the process of respiration. Armed with this apparatus, a diver is enabled to follow his vocation without any air-tube connecting with the surface, indeed without any connections whatever. A notable instance of a most courageous use of this apparatus was afforded by a diver named Lambert, who, during one of the inundations which occurred in the construction of the Severn tunnel, descended into the heading, and proceeding along it for some 330 yards (with the water standing some 35 feet above him), closed a sluice door, through which the water was entering the excavations, and thus enabled the pumps to unwater the tunnel. Altogether, on this occasion, this man was under the water, and without any communication with those above, for one hour and twenty-five minutes.
The apparatus has also proved to be of great utility in cases of explosion in collieries, enabling the wearer to safely penetrate the workings, even when they have been filled with the fatal choke-damp, to rescue the injured or to remove the dead.