I heard late last week that I've been awarded the 2016 Dr. Art Bachrach Literary Award by the Historical Diving Society (UK) for The Heroic Age of Diving. Given in recognition of significant contribution to the literature of diving history. (pic from a previous recipient). My first writing award!
It isn't difficult to understand why William Hannis Taylor (1806-1848) ended his short life impoverished and forgotten. He was a terrible businessman, who convinced others to invest in high-risk schemes, and appeared have had no ethical hesitations in doing so. This trait was in evidence from an early age: in 1827, at age 21, he... Continue Reading →
In the summer of 1862, a wagon-maker from Charles City, Iowa returned to his former home near Detroit, Michigan in order to volunteer for the United States Army, now at war with the South. His name was Elliot P. Harrington, and six years earlier he had accomplished the most stunning feat in the history of... Continue Reading →
The centerpiece of my new book The Heroic Age of Diving involves the efforts, from 1852-1856, to recover an American Express Company safe from a stateroom within the wreck of the passenger steamer Atlantic, which sank in August, 1852 in the deepest part of Lake Erie. Within days of the sinking, which cost the lives... Continue Reading →
I'm not a bridge engineering nerd (yet), but I have been following the new Tappan Zee Bridge construction for one reason: the "I Lift NY" derrick-crane, which is officially the Left Coast Lifter. Here's what it looked like yesterday from the Nyack public viewing area: The Left Coast Lifter is one of the largest, if... Continue Reading →
While preparing book talks for my forthcoming title, The Heroic Age of Diving, I came across a long forgotten, failed attempt at self-contained underwater breathing apparatus--in 1855! So far, no other experts I've checked with recognize Levy's name. However, Levy was not the only one working on the concept in the late 1840s and early... Continue Reading →
Albert D. Bishop was a marine engineer from the 1830s to the 1880s, based in Brooklyn, and best known as the inventor of Bishop's Patent Floating Derrick. His derrick was designed to use a series of block and tackle mechanisms suspended from a mast in order to lift chains wrapped around sunken hulls. As the... Continue Reading →