Submitted by LuigiFabbri on Mon, 04/01/2024 - 11:29

When in the years around 1950 the fin swimming competitions began to spread, people looked with curiosity a snorkel positioned in the centre of the mask, which looked backwards. It was soon adopted by all athletes of that specialty and, the more informed, said that it was not new but an invention dating back 1936 by the Frenchman Pulvenis, made also at the time with several variants, shapes and dimensions.






Aeratore da gara moderno Aeratore Pulvenis del 1936 sistemato tra i bulbi
      compensatori della maschera



This information is quite wrong; in fact, the center snorkel was conceived about 600 years before. This is attested by a precious drawing kept in the Baviera Munich museum, once known only to learned historians.



            Taccola, De ingeneis, liber I-II, Bayerische Staatsbibliotehek, Clm 197/II, sheet 57r (particular) 1419-1450 - Based on the book The Underwater Man in the 15th Century Manuscripts by Rossella Paternò and Faustolo Rambelli

The author of this precious drawing in which we see a helmet with a central ventilation hose fixed to the small visor is Mariano di Jacopo known as Taccola, a Tuscan engineer from the first half of 1400. Designed for those soldiers who had to cross a water flow by walking in the bottom, it allowed to breath from the surface by remaining submerged not to be seen by the enemy. This is confirmed by the sign in the helmet which says "in water".