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Lambertsen Amphibious Respiratory Unit
Early closed circuit oxygen diving rebreather
The Lambertsen Amphibious Respiratory Unit (LARU) is an early model of closed circuit oxygen rebreather used by military frogmen. Christian J. Lambertsen designed a series of them in the US in 1940 (patent filing date: 16 Dec 1940) and in 1944 (issue date: 2 May 1944).
The LARU is what the initials SCUBA (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) originally meant; Lambertsen changed his invention's name to SCUBA in 1952; but later "SCUBA", gradually changing to "scuba", came to mean (first in the USA) any self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. (Modern diving regulator technology was invented by Émile Gagnan and Jacques-Yves Cousteau in 1943 and was not related to rebreathers; nowadays the word SCUBA is largely used to mean Gagnan's and Cousteau's invention and its derivatives.)
Lambertsen designed the LARU while a medical student and demonstrated the LARU to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) (after already being rejected by the U.S. Navy) in a pool at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C. in 1942 The OSS "Operational Swimmer Group" was formed and Lambertsen's responsibilities included training and developing methods of combining self-contained diving and swimmer delivery including the LARU.
Two apparent large lengthways backpack cylinders under a hard metal cover: the right cylinder is oxygen and the left apparent cylinder is the absorbent canister.