the scrapbook of diving history

Batteryless Telephone Equipment Co. Inc. Pittsburgh PA.

The Batteryless Telephone Equipment inc. ( BTE ) never seems to have made any diving helmets but they did supply parts to other makers. The exhaust valves on many diving helmets were made by the BTE (their logo is at the front of the adjustment wheel: see photo here above) Also did the BTE make the US Navy divers knives, rubber cuffs for the suits, shoes and telephone equipment.

The Batteryless Telephone Equipment Co. Inc. company was founded by the Italian Immigrant Fiorentino Gennaro Troisi, born in Paternopoli, Italy on March 2 1891. In 1910 Troisi came to the USA for a visit but was so impressed that he decided to remain. His first job was at a plant in Brooklyn where his duties were to test rubber bulbs used to blow early automobile horns. He quickly developed a better way to make the bulbs and launched his inventive career. He soon came to Pittsburgh where he worked for 18 months welding locomotive boiler tubes and inspecting equipment for the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1912 he went with Pittsburgh Electrical Specialty Co., designing electric irons, spotlights and vacuum cleaners. With the coming of the first world war he joined the Army Engineers as a civilian Inspector of aircraft engines. After damp batteries ruined a diving exhibition he was staging for some high brass on an inspection tour. Com. Troisi resigned in 1926 and devoted himself to inventing a telephone that would be independent of the cumbersome batteries.

Photo above: Italian Immigrant Fiorentino Gennaro Troisi

On October 30, 1947 Troisi was awarded the Certificate of Merit by president Harry Truman for his outstanding services during the second world war in aiding the production and delivery of vital material and equipment such as diving apparatus, rescue equipment, submarine equipment and salvage equipment, and developing a far superior substitute for the loofa sponges(*) used in oil filters in the air lines of diving apparatus, which proved to be invaluable contributions to the war effort of the United States.

Many thanks to Mss. Sonia Troisi from Italy for sharing a lot of wonderful information about her uncle Fiorentino Gennaro Troisi

(* the original loofa sponges used to be imported from Japan).

Above: the Batteryless Telephone for use in a divers helmet.

Troisi designed slender steel buoys employing a battery-less telephone system. As a disabled submarine sinks these buoys will be released from her bow and stern, carrying long slender cables to the surface. From an antenna inside the buoys, radio signals announcing the undersea boat’s approximate position will be broadcast. Atop of the steel contrivance a light will blink to guide rescue vessels. When they arrive, communication with the submarine is possible by telephone, telegraph or radio. This invention was first used by the US Navy in salvaging the S-4 submarine sunk off Provencetown Mass. in 1927 and adopted as standard in 1930.

Above: the Batteryless Telephone for use in Submarines.

Batteryless Telephone Equipment Co.Inc did not only manufacture Telephone equipment, they also manufactured divers shoes (above) rubber cuffs for divers suit, divers knives etc.