1946-1954 : Cousteau-Girardot pressurized chambers

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Although the 35 mm camera Leblay of "Wrecks" brings any satisfaction at achieving the following movies, the opportunity is given to Cousteau to develop new models of boxes in collaboration with CTM (Mechanical Works Company), a great Parisian laboratory directed by Henri Girardot, who regularly works for the Department of French Cinematography. This is the Director of the DCF at that time, who, impressed by the movie "Wrecks" award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1946, gives Cousteau reward by opening a credit at CTM for making a box for camera 35 mm. Cousteau, taking the principle of Leblay pressurized case, designs a new box and draft plans. Henri Girardot materializes it into a box manufactured in chromed brass, named "Bathygraph", with 30 meters film charger, which provide less than two minutes of film.

Detail of a Cousteau-Girardot pressurized case and 35mm Bathygraph camera

The originality comes from its rotating handles, like a motorcycle, allowing the aperture setting and focus. It runs through ultra-light silver batteries. The pressure in the chamber is maintained by a miniature scuba, same as the diver, made of a regulator valve connected to a small compressed-air cylinder.

 Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Frédéric Dumas and André Laban
Around a Cousteau-Girardot 35 mm chamber


 CTM also manufactures some specimens of the same type, but for smaller cameras 16 mm Pathé Wabo. Cousteau-Girardot cameras will be used in parallel with the Leblay throughout the years 1947 to 1954, until a new designed camera be considered for the "Silent World" movie.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau shooting with a Cousteau-Girardot pressurized case for 16mm camera

The same box as outlined in the office of a director became academician, some 50 years later

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