Sometimes the greatest ideas are rejected. An example is the Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus which was presented to the US Navy by Christian Lambertsen. Dr. Lambertsen had been working on equipment for frogmen and underwater warfare and had even registered a patent for it in 1940. He did not really know what to call it. Firstly it went by the description name of breathing apparatus. Then he named it after himself Laru (Lambertsen Amphibious Respiratory Unit) before in 1952 deciding on SCUBA, the name familiar today.
Even though the navy did not buy his idea, the OSS (today’s CIA) took up the idea enthusiastically. They first saw the equipment in a demonstration at the place many scuba divers have their first underwater experience – in a swimming pool. Now the equipment is widely used not only for military applications, but also for pleasure, commercial activities, e.g. underwater inspections, fishing, ship maintenance and police work.
Today there are as many as 7 million active divers world-wide and a whole industry caters to them with wet suits, safety equipment, masks and lights, breathing equipment and training. It just shows that no one should give up on a good idea.
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