In the early 1860’s in Espallion, France, Benoit Rouquayrol developed a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for rescuing trapped miners. He was later joined by the Auguste Denayrouze who assisted in converting the unit into a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA). They developed this copper and brass mask that was attached to a sealed dry suit. The mask is known as the “groin” which translated to “pig snout,” as the shape is similar.
The apparatus was tested in the River Lot, went into production and was used by the French navy and other diving units. The Rouquayrol – Denayrouze apparatus is considered by most historians to be the first functional production unit. This is an operational replica which can be used for diving.
Benoit Rouquayrol and Auguste Denayrouze are both inductees in the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.