In the America of the early 1930’s, popular radio broadcaster, Phillips Lord, created a character that he named, ‘Seth Parker’, an imaginary backwoods preacher whose simple, homespun philosophy resonated with a listening audience drawn from across the country.
In 1933, Lord bought a four-masted schooner – one that he re-named the, ‘Seth Parker’ – with the idea of inviting various celebrities to join him on expeditions to various exotic locations around the South Pacific; from where he would broadcast his show live via short-wave radio.
One such celebrity invited to take part on that first expedition to photograph and film, “the sunken civilizations of the South Seas Islands, of its deep marine life and formations” , was, Eugene (Max) Nohl, then a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who had invented and designed his own peculiar diving ‘shell’ – one that featured a turret helmet similar in style to a lighthouse, with windows all around – that he called, ‘Hell Below’.
in 1935, barely a year after setting out, a tropical storm severely damaged the, ‘Seth Parker’ and called a halt to the expedition.
On the 1st December, 1937, Max Nohl, who had – like the US Navy – similarly been working on the concept of helium as a replacement gas for nitrogen, donned his diving ‘shell’ and went on to make his successful, record-breaking dive to 420 feet in Lake Michigan.
A dive that re-confirmed his status as a “Tech Diver”, as described in the report from the archives of, The Boston Globe newspaper, dated February 28th, 1934.