Jacques Cousteau (1967, via) wearing the aqualung, the first commercially successful SCUBA set, which he co-invented with Emile Gagnan
In the following excerpt from his 1954 book, The Silent World, Cousteau describes his first dive with the aqualung, which allowed him to swim underwater as freely as a fish for the first time (prior to the aqualung, standard deep sea diving dress looked like this):
“To swim fishlike, horizontally, was the logical method in a medium eight hundred times denser than air. To halt and hang attached to nothing, no lines or air pipe to the surface, was a dream. At night I had often had visions of flying by extending my arms as wings. Now I flew without wings. (Since that first aqualung flight, I have never had a dream of flying.)
I thought of the helmet diver arriving where I was on his ponderous boots and struggling to walk a few yards, obsessed with his umbilici and his head imprisoned in copper. On skin dives I had seen him leaning dangerously forward to make a step, clamped in heavier pressure at the ankles than the head, a cripple in an alien land. From this day forward we would swim across miles of country no man had known, free and level, with our flesh feeling what the fish scales know.
I experimented with all possible maneuvers of the aqualung -loops, somersaults, and barrel rolls. I stood upside down on one finger and burst out laughing, a shrill distorted laugh. Nothing I did altered the automatic rhythm of air. Delivered from gravity and buoyancy I flew around in space.”