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'So far has advancement been made in scientific (progress that, no longer content to fish from' the surface of the sea, we must descend to the depths in a submarine. This ■ statement, however, must be so qualified as to apply only to sponges and similar deep sea creatures that have a 'permanent habitation on rocks at the bottom. The boat in question is the- invention of Abbe Raoul, of Tunis. Sponge fishing has become so important an industry in Tunis that old-time methods are too slow. Formerly, sponges were secured in the most primitive manner. Daring divers would descend to the rocke and, tearing off the clammy, living mass, would bring it to the surface. This method, while having the disadvantage of being most laborious, was also injurious to the health of the workers. Later, regular diving suits were used, which are now, however, to ,be superseded by the invention of this French abbe. TJhe apparatus is made to contain two men. It is over sixteen feet in length and has a displacement of nineteen thousand pounds. It is shaped somewhat like a cylinder, curved at the ends. On top there is a cupola, giving access to the interior, as in the ordinary naval submarine. Within are two compressed air tanks and three water ballast tanks. It is by means of these last that the vessel is enabled to sink and to rise. Underneath the boat is a roller which enables it to travel along the bed of the ocean. When the strange craft has, descended to a rich fishing ground, the fishing apparatus is brought into play. It consists of a pair of pincers made so as to tear and grasp the sponge. An electric light at the intersection of the arms of the pincers,'as well as an electric , lighting system within the submarine, furnishes illumination for the work. A telephone circuit and speaking tube fitted to the hull of the submarine enable the fishers to keep in touch with the vessel on the surface.

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Bibliographic details

MODERN SPONGE GATHERING., Northern Advocate, 9 April 1914

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MODERN SPONGE GATHERING. Northern Advocate, 9 April 1914