Bathyscaphe Archimède. Her model in a scale of 1:50 is one of the many masterpieces made by our dear friend Maurice Verhaaren for our collection. It is displayed in our section dedicated to subaquatic exploration on deck 7 of the museum.
he Archimède was not just a „submarine“. It is a type of deep-submergence-vehicle (DSV, that is a crewed, self propelled deep-sea submersible) named Bathyscaphe. The name comes from the classic Greek words βαθύς (bathys/deep) and σκάφος (skaphos/vessel) and was given by its inventor, Swiss scientist and explorer Auguste Picard (1884-1962). Is his family name remind you of Star Trek’s Jean-Luc Picard, it is no coincidence. The name was chosen for the fictional starship captain based on the many adventurous scientists in the real Picard family.
The bathyscaphe is based on a bathysphere, a submersible spherical pressure hull capable of holding a crew in the deep. In a Bathyscaphe suspended from a float filled with light petrol which compensates for the weight of the whole according to Archimedes‘ principle. The bathyscaphe descends by gravity and rises by releasing ballast composed of blocks of iron. The whole functions like an inverted air ballon. Actually, Picard first vessel was the air baloon FNRS-1 (financed by the Belgian Fonds Nationales de la Recherche) built in 1930 and used by Picard to reach the stratosphere in 1931. The depths of the Sea were next. In 1948 the bathyscaphe FNRS-2 was completed. Later sold to the French navy and improved, she made her first piloted voyage in 1954. By then, Picard had starte working on his new bathyscaphe for the Italian navy, the Trieste. This successful vessel was eventually transferred to the US Navy in 1958. The French Navy had by then developed the FNRS-3 with the engineer Pierre Willm. This experimental prototype was the base to build a new bathyscaphe from 1955: the Archimède. The project was completed in 1961. Between 1961 and 1974, 208 missions were carried out with a total of 1,450 diving hours. The greatest diving depth was 9575 m. The Archimède was preserved after commissioning and has been displayed at the Cité de la Mer in Cherbourg since 2001.
Her model in a scale of 1:50 is one of the many masterpieces made by our dear friend Maurice Verhaaren for our collection. It is displayed in our section dedicated to subaquatic exploration on deck 7 of the museum.