Augustus Siebe

Christian Augustus Siebe (known by his middle name; 1788 15 April 1872) was a German-born British engineer chiefly known for his contributions to diving equipment.[1]

For his life history see Siebe Gorman.

Christian Augustus Siebe
Bust of Siebe, in the Science Museum's Blythe House store. It bears the inscription "A Siebe CE".
Saxony, Germany
Died(1872-04-15)15 April 1872
At home (5, Denmark Street)
Resting placeWest Norwood Cemetery
Residence5, Denmark Street, Soho, London, England
NationalityBritish (from 1856)
OrganizationSiebe Gorman
Known forInnovations in diving apparatus
AwardsVulcan medal

Contribution to diving

In the 1830s the Deane brothers asked Siebe to make a variation of their smoke helmet design for underwater use.[1] Later they turned to him to produce more helmets for diving operations. Expanding on improvements already made by another engineer, George Edwards, Siebe produced his own design; a helmet fitted to a full length watertight canvas diving suit. The real success of the equipment was a valve in the helmet.

Colonel Charles Pasley, leader of the Royal Navy team that used Siebe's suit on the wreck of HMS Royal George suggested the helmet should be detachable from the corset, giving rise to the typical standard diving dress which revolutionised underwater civil engineering, underwater salvage, commercial diving and naval diving.[1]

The company that carried his name Siebe Gorman Ltd was founded by him and his son-in-law, Gorman.[1]

He is commemorated by a blue plaque on his former home in Denmark Street, London.[2]

Other inventions

Besides his contributions to diving he also invented:

Siebe won many medals at the Great Exhibition in 1851 and the Paris Exhibition in 1855.

He died 15 April 1872 of chronic bronchitis, at his London home.[1] He was buried at the West Norwood Cemetery.


  1. Acott, C. (1999). "JS Haldane, JBS Haldane, L Hill, and A Siebe: A brief resume of their lives". South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society Journal. 29 (3). ISSN 0813-1988. OCLC 16986801. Retrieved 13 July 2008.
  2. Images on Commons
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